It's easy for small to mid-size publishers to get frustrated. We work in an industry that is ever-changing, where talent is elusive and buyers openly admit they'd rather buy from a computer than from a person.
In the spirit of the holidays and the coming new year, let's take a look at the upside of today's digital ecosystem. There are many options now available to help publishers generate incremental revenues and integrate third-party products that enhance their consumers' online experience. Here are five tips to keep your spirits bright:
1. Direct Sales
This may be the hardest of all given the massive shift to programmatic buying, but when done well, direct sales can set you apart from your competitors. This is where a few well trained, motivated and creative sellers can make it rain. Give them design and planning support and watch the numbers grow!
2. Direct Plus
When putting a proposal together for the digital agency or creative shop (and especially for the client directly), always include a programmatic component. Leverage your unique audience data, or knowledge of the category, to add a scale component to the buy. Or, simply do the programmatic work for the client and take a margin.
If your seller has been banging his or her head against the wall for weeks (or months) trying to close that perfect client who won't budge, don't fret. Instead, focus on selling to their trading desk team via the exchange. You can then prove the performance of your inventory and use this new information as leverage to build a better proposition.
4. Calling All Trading Desks
Sell to the trade desks, but don't try to pitch them. The quants hate guys in suits! Send your "smart" sales guy in to talk to them about what's working, how the tech connection could be improved and what kinds of inventory, pricing and performance they need for their clients. Start an ongoing dialogue and partnership. Think about the trade desk as your reverse ad ops team. They work for you -- they just don't know it.
5. Plug In and Test
There are many companies out there that offer content or products that will add value to your consumer experience. Most come with revenue, not costs. But be careful not to add ten partner widgets, or your site will light up like a Christmas tree.
Take advantage of all these avenues and don't lose hope. Buyers are doing an about-face on working direct. The mode of buying and selling is changing, but people and smart packaging, once again, are king. Keep selling, make the new methods work in your favor, and all will be right for the publisher again.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
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.
March 19, 2014