The common theme among all of the presentations was the tremendous opportunity lying in store for those publishers willing to adapt to the changing industry. Business models are colliding. What used to be in print now must be in every format. The behavior of readers has changed. Banner ads are no longer good enough. Marketers needs to know how to create balanced programs across channels that create a surround sound effect. The tools available to publishers to create exciting and interactive content are numerous and more than ever before.
As audience database management is one of Team KM’s favorite topics, we were most in tune with that conversation. There was a tremendous consensus among the executive level about the promise of creating a 360 degree view of audience data that encompasses print, digital, events and social for greater segmentation, targeting, higher revenue and so on. However; one issue lingered: how do we get the entire organization on board with this audience-centric model? Furthermore, how do we distill the same understanding, vision and value statements to our field sales and marketing team?
Many companies, not only publishers, struggle with cultural change when implementing such a widespread organizational change. Culture is one of the biggest obstacles, if not the absolute biggest for many. For multitudes of publishers integrating and consolidating databases, the accompanying audience-centric model reverses 50 years of strategy and everything they have ever known. A daunting task, yes, but with careful planning, patience, support and enthusiasm from leaders within the organization, cultural change and adoption will happen successfully.
If there is one thing publishers could be sure about, it is that the speed of change in this wonderful industry is not likely to slow down at any point in the near future. For one to stay up to speed, they must be flexible and willing to adapt.
So cheers to another great conference. Here’s to another great year of publishing! Now, here’s a few shots from the trip.
Every publishing sales professional wants to deliver marketing programs that are not the legacy cookie cutter, low margin, low value, ad-centric proposals of old. But how do you get there? How do you transition from legacy sales rep to strategic account manager? Sure, you can change the title on your business card. But that is a very transparent attempt at change.
The moment of truth for every publishing sales professional comes at that point in time when the proposal has been created and is ready to be presented to the prospect or client. You probably have this awesome highly targeted, highly segmented proposal put together. But will the prospect sign? Will they understand it? Will they see the value in it that you know is there?
But then you ask yourself: have I taken all of the right steps to transform myself from ad-centric to audience-centric? Have I done what it takes to increase my individual sales revenue performance, raise the credibility of my organization and meet my target client’s changing demands? To do this, you had to have asked the right questions to know what to deliver. You probably needed to understand the real-life use cases of audience based marketing programs. You likely understood the best practices for marketing your audience database. With all of that under your belt, you knew how to create a winning audience data-centric proposal.
Our May webinar will feature the “hows” of creating winning proposals. Instead of the “whys”, it will be all about tactical advice and strategy. What does a winning proposal look like? How do you make one? What should you not be doing? Register to view the live recording on Wednesday, May 22 at 1:00pm. Can’t make the date? Register anyways and we will share the recording.
Traditionally, a publishing sales professional sold an ad of a certain size on a certain page of a certain publication over a certain period of time. They would brag up the BPA-audited stats and the sheer numbers of eyes that could fall upon that potential ad. If this still sounds like what your sales team is selling, I would hope that you have big plans to change that soon. This type of legacy sale focuses on the value of the ad; however, the new paradigm’s sale involves selling the value of a publisher’s audience.
If you aren’t thrilled with this transition and are looking for someone to blame, look no further than the new digital-savvy media buyer. They are the ones that threw the wrench in your ad sales plan. The new media buyer understands that you are no longer the obvious choice to spend marketing dollars with. They have a plethora of other options, including Youtube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google and so on. They know those channels. It is the sales team’s task to instruct these media buyers on why YOUR channel is the right option.
To do that, you absolutely must be able to tell these media buyers all about how valuable particular segments of your audience are and how you have identified which segments are ready to buy. Nobody knows your audience like you do – and these media buyers understand that and see the value in collaboration. They will look to their sales reps for guidance and advice. They will want to work together to build out effective programs. They are picky about who they want to reach and how the results are measured.
The key to being able to offer such programs is the development of a unified, consensus database. Without such a database and the accompanying tools for sales, it is virtually impossible to provide the marketing programs the new media buyers is asking for. To this end, sales must have a voice in the planning and discovery phase to ensure that the tools being created will successfully support this type of complex sale to deliver the benefits of cross-channel branding to clients.
Join us on April 17 for our 30-minute monthly webinar, in which we will be elaborating on the complexities of the new publisher-advertiser relationship, how the sales team can deal with it and what it means to sell audience over ads. Insights shared are based off of Team KM’s experiences in the industry. In working with a number of successful clients who have implemented this change, Team KM has identified a number of best practices that all of these clients had in common. Unable to make the live recording? Register anyways – we’d love to share the recording with you.
Click here to register for the webinar.
1) Get comfortable with data and technology.
Let’s be real – neither of those two things are going anywhere anytime soon so you had better get friendly with digital and this new “data-driven business” thing. It is like being friends with a cat person. If you don’t like their cat, how long do you think they are going to keep you as a friend? Probably not long. Fortunately, if you are a cat-lover too, you’ll get to stay! If you are going to remain an audience development professional, you had better love data and digital – otherwise you will become one of those “circulation dinosaurs” on the way out the door.
2) Embrace new strategies.
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous rule, as new strategies will generally involve using data and technology. Consolidation of audience databases is fast becoming an industry trend as publishers are turning to data-driven strategies and operations on the brand-level. Implementation of a consensus audience database is a costly endeavor and a game changer for audience development professionals. It will transform the way you do your job on a daily basis – for the better. Culture is the largest obstacle executives face when undergoing a project on this scope. The sooner new strategies are embraced, the greater the gain for the organization overall.
3) Collaborate with other departments.
Not only do audience developers take advantage of potential efficiencies, but duplicate work could be eliminated. Cross-promote where possible and share your roadmap. Collaboration can help cut costs in certain areas in these ways. Ever heard of a budget expansion? We haven’t either. Collaboration is one way to cut costs and make room for spending on other items. Having an open line of communication with other departments is also critical for staying on top of audit rule changes. Audience developers naturally stay on top of these changes, but keeping the other departments, namely the sales team, in the loop is critical.
Flexibility and adaptability will prove paramount to the success of any individual in the publishing industry. The game is changing faster than most are able to keep up – it is all we can do to respond, adjust and fly by the seat of our pants. But chances are, if you are an audience developer in tune to these 3 rules, we think you will do just fine.
For a complete list of winners and finalists, click here. Winners are in bold in each category.
Why do we feel the need to stress these 5 considerations? Because developing a unified audience database is so often a “make or break” initiative. Because publishers and media companies invest oodles of money developing this technology in hopes of transforming their overall operations. Because creating a data-driven organization is key to a publisher’s future success.
Beyond creating an audience database that “works”, the goal should be to achieve the highest value possible out of the project. As your mom always advised you on your homework in grade school – why settle on good when you can be the best? Same applies for your database. Hasty decisions result in long term problems. Failure to plan, consider and analyze every tiny aspect of this project could be detrimental.
Ok – so you get it now. Plan, plan, plan. Ask yourself and your team multitudes of questions. So what exactly will be covered in our webinar?
• Utilizing a “use case” approach to achieve that coveted “best practice deployment.”
• Accounting for distinct products, brands and divisions.
• Build vs. Buy – the questions you need to ask yourself about each
• Reconciling the differences between “real-time” and “consensus.”
• Taking on the challenges of cultural change head-on.
Join us on Tuesday, March 19 at 1:00pm CDT for this 30 minute webinar. Pop some popcorn, kick your feet up on your desk and join us for good discussion on audience data and unified databases. Can’t make the date? Register anyway so we can share the recording with you.