When it comes to hearing about new sites, what do marketers really care about anyway? If you listen to the pitches of the average Internet sales rep, you’d assume they cared deeply about the intricacies of every site and its ability to get cheap impressions, because – unfortunately – that’s what most people are talking about. But actually, pretty much the only thing marketers care about is how a site can help them achieve their overall marketing objectives.
How do you translate your site’s benefits into the language of marketing objectives? First, of course, you have to figure out what marketers’ objectives are. Sometimes doing this is straightforward – you ask and they tell. Other times, you’re working with a media buyer who may be a few steps removed from the high-level objectives herself and can’t or won’t answer your questions fully, and you can’t make contact with the client directly.
In those cases, if it’s a prospect that merits your time and attention, you’ll need to dig in. Read whatever you can find about the company. Scan analysts’ reports if it’s a public company. Look at the site and try to understand whom the company is seeking to appeal to and why. Talk to contacts in the industry and, if possible, in the company. Put yourself in the shoes of the marketers in that company.
What would be keeping you up nights if you worked there? What are analysts identifying as problems or opportunities? Is their traffic growth slowing? Have they gotten bad press about their customer service? Is their average order size smaller than expected? Do they need to appeal to a wider market?
Each of the above factors has different implications for your proposal, so see if you can figure out what the issues are likely to be before you start putting together your pitch. Even if you’re not dead on with the goal of the specific campaign, your deeper understanding of the company will improve your proposal immensely.
Above all, be respectful of your audience the marketers in putting together your pitch. Remember that usually these are smart people who spend a huge amount of time and energy figuring out what they need to do to be successful. Offering up your site as the be-all and end-all to their marketing objectives can come across as glib and even naove.
Avoid the temptation of thinking you’ve addressed their issues just because you’ve thrown in some marketing jargon. While most marketers would love to increase their market share, for example, this is often not the driving force behind the media campaign. In many industries, there are systematic forces at work that truly drive market share, such as consolidations and mergers or major technology break-throughs. These forces make it pretty unlikely that an ad campaign, no matter how well executed, is likely to have much impact on market share. So, don’t throw in general buzzwords unless you have reason to believe they are on target or you’ll lose credibility and good will.
The good news is that this industry and most sales reps within it are still young enough that a person who takes the time to do some research and some hard thinking on a marketer’s behalf will be many steps ahead of most of the competition. This is the fun part. Be creative!
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