What’s The Big Idea?

Over the past few weeks we’ve been writing about pitching the big idea and selling beyond the banner to bring your advertisers and agencies really creative uses of the sites you are selling.

Some of the email in response to this topic has given us some insight into why the buyers have been so frustrated with the ideas they are getting – lots of writers seem to think that an idea is “big” simply because of the dollar amount attached to the insertion order.

Great ad sales people know that big ideas are solutions to marketing challenges. It’s not the expenditure but the magnitude of the problem solved that makes an advertising concept really breakthrough.

Big, in other words, is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve never met a marketer who drives to work wondering how to spend more money on advertising. We’ve known lots of great marketers who wake up at night wondering how to improve profitability on a product line. Or drive more customers to their store (or site).

These are the problems marketers and their agents want to solve. Maybe one client is worried about improving margins, or increasing market share – or mind share. Perhaps there is a lot of extra inventory to move before the holiday season ends, or before the end of a quarter.

Is the sales force screaming for better qualified leads? Does a product manager need better support for her premier channel? Is there a need to better understand an emerging customer segment?

These, and hundreds of variations, are what marketers want and need to accomplish. Buying more impressions…boring. Solving marketing challenges: That’s what they want to hear about.

So, what’s a big sales idea? It’s a sales pitch that utilizes the unique advantages of your site to solve whichever marketing problem your client is grappling with. The seller wants that to translate into big revenues, but that’s not the actual customer’s criterion. Solve the problem, and the revenues are a happy side effect.

When we talk about becoming students of our customers, that includes investing the time to understand what marketers, advertisers, account planners and business strategists hope to accomplish with their marketing efforts. Think like a marketer. Stop peddling impressions, and start solving problems. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your efforts are received.

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