Don't lose sight of the power of the conversation.
Who needs a sales person anymore? They are expensive, need attention, and are nearly impossible to manage. In this era of automation, publishers can simply list their inventory on the exchange and the buyers will come. Real-time bidding (RTB) is a virtual "Field of Dreams"!
Well, this couldn't be further from the truth. Sellers, especially the good ones, are always the loudest, most difficult people because they are on the frontlines every day listening to their clients and trying to create solutions that meet client needs. They also play a more critical role than ever because clients are confused and they need a partner they can trust and rely on to help them cross the chasm from old to new (and that happens every six months now). Who will sell the integrated sponsorship or the big creative unit or the webinar or the custom product placement deal? Certainly not the exchange.
The programmatic landscape is evolving rapidly and buyers are going so far as to put real-time bidding as a tactic on their request for proposal (RFP) requests to publishers. Real-time bidding isn't a tactic. It's simply a buying method. My point is that there is still a lot of education needed. And the best way to make that happen is to put a seller in front of a client.
Now the client mix is changing. We still have the marketer and the traditional media agency, but we also have the trading desks and demand-side platforms (DSPs). These folks need to be educated too. They have tremendous buying power and won't buy your inventory at scale without some special attention. The conversations are more technical in scope, but when they happen (if you have quality inventory) the money will start to flow. And if it works for the clients, it will scale.
There are many levers to manage when selling through programmatic channels - from data to transparency, placements to pricing. But don't lose sight of the power of the conversation. Schedule meetings with your top buyers and you will be amazed at the results.
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Larry Allen is SVP, Global Platform Sales for Xaxis. He has responsibility for overseeing solutions for publishers including Xaxis for Publishers, Xaxis Exchange, and Xaxis Marketplace globally.
Larry has extensive experience in digital media, marketing, and business strategy unmatched by most standards. Prior to joining 24/7 Media (which merged with Xaxis in 2014), he held senior management positions at cutting-edge digital media companies such as AOL, Viewpoint, Unicast, Yieldex, Real Media, and TACODA.
Larry also ran his own consulting business where he advised many major media companies such as The New York Times, Meredith, 33Across, and Business Insider. He is a frequent contributor to a number of trade publications, blogs, and industry conferences.
A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Management, Larry is based in Xaxis' headquarters in New York City.
Follow him on Twitter at @lawrenceallen2.
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