You Don’t Know Me, But You Love Me

“Yeah, this is Magwich,” says the media buyer to the receptionist.

“There is a Jacob Marley from Xmas.com on the phone,” she intones flatly.

“Jacob Marley, eh? I don’t know ’em. Voicemail, please.”

The media buyer continues to plug away at the virtual reams of data on his desktop. He’s finally got the delivery figures for last month’s buy for one of his clients (he has three) into a pivot table.

“Brrrrrzzzit,” the phone warbles like an electrocuted bird.

“Yeah, Magwich.”

“It’s Old Possum from Wasteland.com,” the receptionist informs our protagonist.

“God, how the women come and the women go, talking of Michaelangelo” After a second of thought, “Voicemail,” comes the reply.

Okay, so. Where was he? Oh, yes, setting up the post-buy data so that it shows performance by banner by site.

“Brrrrrzzzit,” goes the phone.

“Damn it,” spits the media buyer.

“What?!”

“Viceroy Fizzlebottom from XYZ.com on line one.”

“Well, the only way to get those reps to stop calling is to take the damn call. All right, put him through,” Magwich breathes in resignation.

“Hi, my name is Viceroy Fizzlebottom from XYZ.com. I was reading last week that Underwaterbasketweaver.com received a zillion dollars in new financing last week that they plan to use for advertising and marketing. I called over there and spoke with Ms. Havisham, who said you guys are handling their media. Am I talking to the right person?”

“Yeah, I’m the guy” Magwich sighs heavily, hoping the sales rep will get the hint. But, like always, this just turns the switch on the pitch.

“Well, let me tell you about our site. XYZ.com is fast becoming the largest site on the web for people who need to drink water and breath air to live, and we think Underwaterbasketweaver.com is a perfect match with our demos,” the rep riffs cheerfully.

“Really, well, what are your demos?”

“Why, the human race, of course!”

“Okay. What are your average monthly pageviews?”

“Well, we’ve just launched, so we’re not picked up by Media Metrix just yet, but last month we did one million hits.”

“Hits? Hits?! When you talk about ‘hits,’ you better be Kasey Kasem or Rick Dees. I asked how many pageviews you guys are doing.”

“Well, if you give me your email address, I’ll send you our media kit. And, by the way, I’ll be in town in two weeks and would like to take 20 minutes to introduce you and the other planners and buyers at the agency to the site.”

“Let me see. We’re pretty busy around here. How about I look at what you’ve got and get back to you?” Yeah, right. Both Magwich and Viceroy Fizzlebottom know the truth. Viceroy will be calling all next week to get that meeting, or, at the very least, some feedback from Magwich. And most certainly Viceroy would like a test buy.

“Okay, well, I’ll check back in a week.”

“Sure. Whatever, bye.”

And this is a fingernail of the media buyer’s daily existence. Only there are twenty-five calls a day just like this. On top of data analysis, client management, and trafficking banners, the media buyer doesn’t have the time to go to the bathroom, let alone analyze every site that calls or take meetings. But at the same time, they can’t let every media opportunity get relegated to the amnesia of voicemail. So, what do you do?

Get The Kit

First, get whatever information about the site you can from the site itself. This is usually quick and painless and requires no work on the part of the buyer. Once you have some information in hand, do a super-fast; down-and-dirty analysis of how you think it will perform.

In the same way you evaluate RFPs (requests-for-proposal) from possible sites to test for a client, do a more cursory one on this new site. No need to go deep. Only do that if you see something you like. That way, the next time the rep from XYZ.com calls, you can tell him with the confidence of knowledge and solid rationale why or why not you would consider them for your client.

Taking The Meeting

This can be tricky. We are in a relationship business, but there seems to be no time for building relationships. The best a bandwidth challenged media planner and buyer can do is say, ‘maybe,’ to a meeting. However, at some point, you’re going to want to meet with the site. Here are some basic conditions that should be met before taking that meeting:

  1. Have you run on the site already and plan on doing it again? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to do what I call “three dimensionalizing” the relationship. The site has gone from being a site to test to a marketing partner. You owe it to the site, yourself, and the client to get a relationship going beyond just emails and insertion orders.
  2. Interested in doing beyond-the-banner? If so, it is so much easier to discuss these things in real-time. You can get in front of a white board and brainstorm some ideas with the site’s personnel. After all, they should know the property better than you and will have some real ideas.
  3. Is the site already a major player in a category important to your client? These are properties that have to be contended with. They may be business development partners, be tapped into the category and serve as an excellent source of information, or they might just be great places to run media that perform effectively for your client. Whatever the case might be, developing a relationship with these kinds of sites is important because you’re going to be running into them again, no matter what.

And, finally…

“Brrrrrzzzit.”

Damn, gotta go.

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