The Ad Industry Boom: How Media Buyers Can Profit

You probably see signs of it every day. Online advertising is booming despite the economic troubles that are affecting many other industries. Agency buyers and site reps are busy doing their part to keep up with campaign supply and demand. Now more than ever, working together toward the common goal of profitability and client success is paramount.

Last week, I suggested how site publishers and their sales reps can secure the advertising investments they seek from buyers and our clients. Today, we’ll look at what buyers can do to make it easier for reps to reach us with the precise information and buying opportunities we need.

Introducing the Sales Rep

Our jobs have evolved considerably in recent years. Whereas once we were buyers or planners, we’re now responsible for devising an overall campaign strategy and executing it effectively.

By the same token, our agencies have learned there are advantages to pooling internal knowledge and resources, so our campaigns are rarely ours alone. Brainstorming meetings might draw in creative folk, copywriters, analytics experts, and account managers as we all work toward the common goal of developing a brand-appropriate, memorable, and effective campaign.

Such sessions provide the ideal opportunity to tap the minds of site sales reps. No one is better equipped to share case studies of past client successes and let the agency team know what options are available to our clients. A creative strategist might come up with an astounding ad concept that requires added site resources for execution. A sales rep from a site specializing in rich media placements or progressive video units with whom you have a relationship will likely be more than willing to troubleshoot this theoretical campaign.

Make it clear that his knowledge and help will be remembered and compensated, if not with this campaign (for which you may not have begun media planning), then with the next.

View your site sales reps as an extension of your campaign strategy team, and invite them into the planning conversation as frequently as possible. Ask them and they’ll tell you: they’re here to help.

The RFP: A Universal Standard

There have been some great articles written about the value of the RFP (define) as delivered from media buyer to site publisher. For the most part, agencies and reps both know the value of this tool, which delivers, in fixed terms, the buyer’s campaign requirements and gives site reps the opportunity to respond with a custom campaign plan.

Although using an RFP has proved crucial to many successful campaigns, it isn’t always employed. Far too often a buyer will have to plan a last-minute campaign or optimize by swapping out a poorly performing placement mid-run in favor of something more effective. In time-sensitive situations like these, we tend to forgo an RFP and take a more informal approach, contacting a few sites that might be top of mind with a personalized description of what’s needed.

When reps return with options that aren’t in line with our objectives, we get frustrated and delayed. But this is a typical outcome when we fail to effectively outline our needs and client goals.

As buyers, we work with a vast number of variables that affect our buying decisions, including client requests and favored ad units, past campaign strategies employed, metrics considered by buyer and client as indicative of campaign success, metrics related to other campaign buys, and so on. However informal the buyer/rep conversation might be, communicating these factors is critical. In their own way reps are strategists too, devising customized opportunities for our clients. Without a thorough understanding of campaign strategies, they’re working in a vacuum and can’t be expected to deliver relevant options, or a successful campaign.

The solution: consider the RFP a universal standard for media buys, and employ it’s optimal format in either complete written or abbreviated oral form every time you communicate with a rep about a campaign.

Sales reps have a considerable burden to bear by working with us. We can be unresponsive and vague, both of which can hinder our campaigns’ execution and effectiveness. Our objective should always be to work with sales reps — to view them as allies instead of opponents. In this fashion, we’ll both achieve results.

Meet Tessa at ClickZ Specifics: Online Video Advertising on July 22, at Millennium Broadway in New York City.

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