Do media sellers deserve to be in the room?

The current media/advertising/marketing world is one of increasing uncertainty, making it more difficult for decision makers to confidently make decisions that, in a more stable environment, were really easy to make.

The CMO’s, brand managers, media strategists, planners and buyers responsible for buying media are struggling to make sense of their environment and they need something more from media owners, something more than another media rep asking them about their problems… again!

When it’s all about – ‘Why us?’

Too many media sellers differentiate in the exact same way as their competitors differentiate, something they prove by opening meetings with a lecture on how great their company is, followed by how fabulous their medium is, rankings, audience numbers, special discount packages and incentives and how this will solve all the client’s problems.

This legacy approach to sales is far too transactional to create the value a decision-maker needs while assessing their options. Being an expert on your medium and your solution doesn’t enable anyone to make the best decision for an advertiser.

There are decisions before the decision of what to buy and who from. Media selection today, is fraught with the potential of negative consequences. The complex cast of characters that are typically charged with making these decisions, have an obligation to make the best possible decision for their brand and the better future results they need. This is the opportunity for the media seller to prove that they do belong in the room. Throughout history, decisionmakers have relied on advisors who could provide a perspective that would inform their decisions and increase their ability to better understand the decision and the potential outcomes.

Why me’ is better than ‘why us’.

Modern media sellers understand that they are the value proposition.

They truly believe that the best outcome for a client struggling to make a decision is to have the help of someone with the experience to provide perspective, advice and recommendations about how to make the decision. Even though the decision maker will ultimately make the decision, there is no reason they should be uninformed when there are people that can help them.

To prove that they deserve to be in the room next to the decision maker who is considering their options and deciding what to do, they show that they can be consultative and strategic, earning the position of a trusted advisor.

Modern media sellers are adept at starting conversations that are focused on strategic outcomes. They can improve the exchange by addressing what is relevant and meaningful to the advertiser. In this way much of the problems of selling and buying can be improved.

The most important decision we can make right now as professional media sellers, is to do the work that allows us to be the person our clients ask to join them when they need to make a change.

Written by Rivak Bunce, Managing Director at United Stations.

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