Marketing Strategy Media Buying

For Media Reps: how to sell to an agency professional

By Jen Neumann on February, 20 2017
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(This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated February 20, 2017)

We have a reputation among media reps for being hard to work with. It's not an unfair statement. Here are a few things any sales person should know before calling us, or frankly, any other agency:

Traditional media is not (usually) our first route to market. We build each marketing strategy with our client's goals in mind. We dissect their target audiences, build personas and carefully craft their key marketing messages around who is buying their product or service and where they get their information. If you are selling traditional media, approach us with value and statistics that support our client's objective. Not b.s. your sales team made up.

A niche publication. A digital deliverable with historical performance statistics. These are the solutions we're seeking. 

Be strategic. Our favorite media reps (you know who you are) are great because they don't try to sell things to us or our clients because they've been told to sell it. They look at the client, their market and their goals and see how their products fit. They don't try to make things fit that don't. They have built a career out of honesty and intelligence.

Don't. Ever. Lie. Period. We don't lie to you and expect the same in return.

Be our strategic partner. When we say "give us a proposal" don't come back over the budget we gave you. That will NEVER work. Come back to us with your best creative thinking on how to make it work with the budget our clients have.

Tell us something we don't know. The best media representatives keep our media buyer updated on new opportunities. They treat their offering like a portfolio. We never mind getting information on a new publication or program that may fit one of our clients. But we may not need a face to face with you on it. Drop us a note via US Mail or an email. 

Don't assume that history will provide the same results in the future. We measure everything.

If you approach us with a smarmy sales pitch, we probably won't return your call. There are a lot of other advertising opportunities. You are not the only game in town.

Did we mention we don't care for liars?

Does this seem harsh? It's based on the experiences we've had with probably 85% of the ad reps who call us. We typically get a call or a voicemail that is clearly a cold call, often not knowing our client's name or ours. Without fail, we hear the same schtick, full of cliches and lacking any real research. We get proposals full of fake jargon designed to try to confuse and (in the words of Click and Clack) obfuscate the truth. Sometimes the reps use words they don't even understand. When pressed for an explanation, the answer is hollow.

We're not buying it. As a result, neither are our clients.

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