Stop Selling Digital the Way You Sell Traditional!

Tue Feb 23, 2016

Dano Ehler

Having worked in media sales for 20 years, my career has followed the path of media expenditures from radio danoto TV, and now to digital. I have found success by not presenting any media like the former. Radio is not print, TV is not radio, and digital is not traditional media.

As advertising budgets of digital media quickly overtake those of traditional, it’s imperative that you not only know the capabilities of digital, but understand how to explain them to clients. The media buying marketplace (both directs and agencies) are actively seeking those who know and can effectively explain digital. Only when you fully grasp its capabilities will you be able to clearly demonstrate its value to your clients.

Are You Reaching Your Digital Goal?

See if the following scenario sounds familiar:

The “traditional” media company you work for realized they’re losing revenue to digital. In response, they contracted with a digital vendor to offer digital products in addition to their own. And bam, you now have a digital product to sell.

The digital budgets are drawn up and your manager says, “Ok, digital is where it’s at—here’s a digital one sheet. Now go sell it.” Then it goes out the station’s doors offering X impressions for X dollars, the same way the one sheet for your station goes out.

If you really want to meet your digital goal and keep meeting it (long term), your client must understand digital marketing and perceive you as an extremely knowledgeable resource on the subject. In other words, you need to develop expertise and specialization.

Take Off The “Traditional” Hat

Like most traditional media sellers, you have a digital offering, but here’s your weak spot: you’re a TV, print or radio rep trying to sell a digital product! Sellers of digital products possess a secret weapon, which comes in the form of a simple question: “Why are you placing digital buys from your TV rep? They’re experts in TV, not digital.” The answer is usually, “I’m trying to figure this digital stuff out. I have someone doing our social and [insert your call letters here] has offered what seems to be a good digital package.” At that point, the digital sales rep is seconds away from winning over your client.

From your client’s perspective, “digital” is a big word. It includes, just for starters, SEO, Targeted, SEM, and Social. I challenge you to ask yourself, “Is the word digital easy for me to explain?” If you answered “no,” at least you recognize the problem.

Start asking yourself:

  • What does digital provide?
  • How does it work?
  • How do I effectively place it into a marketing plan?

Your Digital Offering Value = How Well It’s Explained

As a traditional media rep, you realize how important it is to explain how your medium is measured. Your clients already understand the capabilities of TV, print, and radio, but not digital. Your job is to educate them and reveal the value of what you’re offering.

The media-buying marketplace is hungry to learn how digital works and what it offers. If you are able to explain the capabilities of digital, you will be that much closer to reaching your digital budget.

Unlike traditional media before it, digital has quickly and dramatically changed the way advertisers reach, interact, and judge campaign performances with existing and potential customers. The capabilities of digital are enormous, offering advertisers the ability to reach consumers at any point in their purchase path; the real-time optimization of customer behavioral strategies; as well as unparalleled demo, geo, and device targeting. The list could go on, which demonstrates both the complexities of digital and its unique value compared to traditional media.

Saying that digital media will soon be “traditional” is an understatement. Digital is already traditional, and it’s up to you to decide how to offer it to your clients.  Great opportunities await behind the current digital offerings you have, but their potential will remain untapped until you understand their capabilities and learn to effectively share them with your clients.

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About Dano Ehler

Dano Ehler is the Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Sales at Digital Mark Group. He has worked in traditional and digital media sales for 20 years. You can contact him at 503.964.0379.

View all posts by Dano Ehler