What’s the ideal background for an Internet advertising sales manager?
Now there’s a great question, and one I hear a lot. After all, this Internet business is all about the convergence of media and technology. So which discipline has bred the most successful Internet advertising sales managers: technology or advertising/media?
Web advertising products are technically sophisticated advertising products; whether you are talking about rich media, complex sponsorship deals, co-branded content or animated banners an understanding of the technical possibilities and limitations is essential. And talking the Internet talk is absolutely necessary to credibility.
At the same time, advertisers are utilizing interactive advertising to solve marketing goals. Whether to acquire new customers, lower acquisition costs, keep current customers sold, facilitate sampling, increase client and prospect access to product information…. or any of a huge number of other goals, any ad sales job is, at least in part, a marketing consulting role. Good working knowledge of the range of client marketing objectives is a must. Being smart about advertising programs and expectations is crucial to building client-centric solutions.
So, who’s the best interactive ad sales manager — a tech sales pro or a media sales whiz?
The answer, unfortunately, is both. Or, at least, some aspects of each, with some particular personality traits thrown in.
A Wide Range
There are very successful interactive ad managers who come from pure technology backgrounds, and just as many who left behind successful careers in media or ad agencies. What do they have in common?
The best of them understand that this is a whole new world, and they stay open to learning from the experience, applying relevant aspects of their former media or technology sales backgrounds to the job at hand, without ever getting caught in the “way things were done at my last job” syndrome.
The ideal Internet advertising sales executive has an interest in and capability with technology, as well as a sound grasp of marketing and how advertising works within a larger marketing plan.
It ought to go without saying that this individual must be a great sales person first. And a strong manager and motivator of people.
The specific knowledge set can come from either media or technology. But only when there is a full respect for mastering the other side of the coin does that individual succeed, and the team thrive. Convergence, after all, is the coming together and uniting in a common interest of two distinct positions. Successful sales managers live and breathe convergence, as they teach the best of both media and technology to their teams, and offer that combined value to their clients.
If you were looking for simple solutions, my apologies. There is no one perfect resume for this key executive in your web media business. There are some pretty important personality traits, however innovators, flexible and open-minded managers, always on the lookout for better ways to serve the market, creative thinkers who would rather invent solutions than fall back on old habits, smart marketers who love technology as well as experienced technologists who like and respect marketing, individuals driven to produce the results. In short, individuals who will do whatever it takes are thriving in this business and driving the successful revenue programs at web sites.
Next week: A look at matching the skill sets to market timing.
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