• Hugh McPherson

3 Ways Small Media Companies Can Compete With Giants When Selling Digital

The year is winding down and Christmas cheer is everywhere, especially for digital ad giants Facebook and Google.

U.S. companies will spend over $20 billion dollars in the new year on outside data solutions in addition to spending billions on digital advertising.

Nearly two-thirds of this money will be spend with giants Facebook and Google and their share of digital ad dollars continues to grow each year.

The big 8 are all gaining which means that there are less dollars left for all other ad companies.

Chart: Ad Revenue Share by Company

So what do you do if you are a small broadcaster, publisher, agency or newspaper to secure these dollars when you are competing with giants like iHeart, Cumulus, Entercom/CBS or any one of hundreds of huge multi-media companies out there?

The biggest companies like iHeart and Cumulus continue to lose market share regardless of their reports. They show gains but that is after huge losses of revenues back in 2008. They have never made these revenues up and their growth continues to be very slow or stagnant. This is why Cumulus recently filed for Bankruptcy and iHeart is not far behind.

So how can a small media operator make gains when the giant media companies cannot compete with Facebook and Google?

The answer is NOT to try and compete but to have a different strategy.

The way to win is to be a resource for your current clients and help them navigate these confusing and treacherous waters.

Ok, so this sounds easier than done but it really is simple. Small broadcasters, direct mailers, agencies, newspapers all deal more often with company owners and decision makers and less with ad buyers. This gives you a HUGE advantage in helping a local business develop an effective strategy.

The first thing to remember is: DO NOT change your sales team's selling strategy when you add digital to your mix of products.

If your strength is needs based selling, keep that in place and ad different questions to your needs analysis. If your team is selling spec ads now you will be showing digital spec ads along with your radio, direct mail, newspaper or radio spec ads. If you like to package up solutions you now add digital to that mix and show them how it will fit into their budget. The second point: find a way to show them quick results that get their attention.

The key to the digital explosion is tracking consumers, where they go, unique website visits, data captures and many other ways to gain "leads" for your clients and prospects. This is not hard to do but you will fail if you try to copy Facebook, Google or any of the mega-huge digital giants of the digital ad craze.

That is what iHeart and Cumulus have done and they are failing at this effort. If you will say that they show huge gains in digital sales then I say that you are not looking at the story they want you to hear. The story you should read is about their anemic overall "same year over year store sales" and the terrible BCF and lack of profit these two giants have year after year. Third, and this is crucial: start with your current clients.

Nothing is harder than a new business initiative involving a new product you do not understand well and you have confusion about the most effective sales strategy.

It is much better to start with your key customers who already get results from your current products, who trust your advice first and who are willing to try new things. Giving these customers great "first time offers" will not only reward them, but also give you a track record quickly: a track record as not only the leader in your field, but also in digital advertising too.

In fact, you will become the LEADER in bringing your clients and prospects NEW CUSTOMERS!

So I ask you...which is better? Being the first to show the latest digital advertising product with all its bells and whistles or being known as the local ad company who brings solutions that consistently deliver new customers?

I am sure you know what the right answer is to this question.

The Media Store works with radio, direct mail, ad agencies and newspapers to help their local businesses generate more new customers.

CONTACT US today to learn more! Hugh McPherson

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