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Opinion and Insight

When Smooth Talking Isn’t Enough

lbbonline.com, 2 years, 4 months ago

Digital spend is reaching tipping point – but those who want a bigger slice of the cake must focus on practical matters says Donna Nichols, vice-president of media at CloudSense

When Smooth Talking Isn’t Enough

Selling advertising space used to be all about charm and the powers of persuasion. But suddenly, relationship building alone is not enough.

Gone are the days when brands had minimal choice where they placed their ads and limited avenues for their message. And the growing sophistication of today’s multichannel options is driving the need for new processes. Especially those that ease the advertiser’s path from quote to cash.

Recent figures show that the percentage of total advertising spend for digital channels is now higher in the UK than anywhere else in the world. According to Strategy Analytics, nearly £8 billion will be spent on digital advertising in 2015 alone, an increase of 9.5 per cent.

But this is only part of the story, many publishers are using digital to introduce video, or services such as e-newsletters or as a means to target suitable invitees to an event. And the competition for the digital pound means they must bring new products and services to market on an ongoing basis to keep advertisers engaged. To maximise advertising across the different channels, they must also have the ability to constantly re-invent their offers and create options to cross-sell platform options.

Factory Media  is a specialist sports content company that has already followed this tack and has been particularly creative about developing new forms of media advertising for its big-name brand customers. Consequently, it has experienced accelerated growth over the past few years across its offices in UK and mainland Europe

But also, as publishers are increasingly realising, ad teams may be smooth at selling, but still not reaching targets. Perhaps they are hampered by being unable to book cross-media ads in one place, by having no record of a cancellation made by phone, or by a lack of integration between their current system and their ad server.

When it comes to carrying out a fast Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) exercise, which will determine the effectiveness of the sales process, their hands are too often tied by a lack of co-ordination with the back office. Improvements to this process will allow publishers to become more innovative and responsive to their advertisers and bring new offers and products to market quickly. Publishers that recognise the importance of creating a platform which allows for innovation, fast delivery and encourages interaction and loyalty will soon see the returns as digital ad spend becomes king.

This recognition of the importance of practical support for ad sales is encouraging publishers to harness technologies such as the cloud and new CPQ platforms. These can be built on top of legacy systems, in many cases designed solely for processing traditional print ads. The older unwieldy technology stacks still found across the industry are just not agile enough for today’s evolving demands.

It’s also no longer satisfactory to use CRM systems that don’t cover the entire organisation or provide a single view of an individual advertiser across print, digital, social media and other channels. On the other hand, new cloud-based platforms streamline processes through the full sales lifecycle, slashing admin time and costs while leaving teams free to improve their sales effectiveness.

The rapid expansion of Factory Media, mentioned earlier, is now being driven by such a platform, which provides tools to develop quicker and more accurate quotes across its cross-media sales. According to Andy Boxer, sales director: “This gives our customers more choice and an easier buying experience across all our channels, enabling us to sell more effectively.”

It seems that to achieve a substantial slice of the digital cake there are two essentials. The first is creativity – something that most people in the business usually have in buckets. But the second is more surprising. It’s the all-important back-up. It’s going to be impossible to ignore the need for this much longer.


Donna Nichols is vice-president of media at CloudSense