5 Ways Media Sellers Are (Or Should Be) Alchemizing Their Careers
Alchemy is a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way. On Monday Publishing Executive held Reboot: Radically Transforming Media Sales in New York City, an immersive sales workshop aimed at helping media salespeople alchemize their careers and businesses by adopting a new mindset for selling media.
Anointed to lead the transformation at Reboot was media and marketing expert Andrew Davis, who acted as the Chief Media Alchemist of the event. The daylong event was packed with thought provoking sessions led by Davis, case studies from publishers who have revamped their sales strategies and driven more revenue as a result, and interactive discussions on how attendees could apply these tactics in their own careers.
Here are 5 of the best sound bites from Reboot:
1. “The marketing pie isn’t getting bigger, it’s just getting sliced in more ways.”
Davis said this during his session “CMO Pizza: Winning the Battle for the Mind of the Modern Marketer.” Davis’ CMO Pizza analogy captures the notion that even though there are more ways for brands to market themselves than ever before, overall marketing budgets are relatively finite. Today brands use social media, SEO, email, events, promotions, and advertising, so as that marketing pie is divided into more slices, the publisher’s share continues to shrink. In order to grow the pie, media salespeople need to go after parts of the pizza that go beyond brand awareness and traditional advertising objectives.
2. “Think about market size instead of market share.”
Davis urged attendees to get their prospects thinking about ways to actually grow demand for their products, not just raise awareness. Advertising drives brand awareness and can increase market share, but Davis compels salespeople to advocate for “content brands,” which can increase demand for a product and actually grow the market.
Davis offered the “Will It Blend?” website as an example, which was launched by blender maker Blendtec. This is a content brand because it provides information that the audience wants – whether a blender can blend an iPhone, for example -- and not a product promotion. That content approach actually increased demand. In 2007, after Blendtec filmed its founder Tom Dickson blending the first iPhone, “Will It Blend?” grew its YouTube audience substantially and increased direct sales 500% month over month. Publishers, experts in creating engaging content, are uniquely equipped to provide this type of experience to their advertisers.
3. “There’s no traditional media. Only traditional ideas.”
Mitchell Olszewski offered this advice during the first case study of the day. Formerly a salesperson at Milwaukee Magazine, Bayou City, and Houston Chronicle, Olszewski was a strong proponent of native advertising at Milwaukee Magazine and helped create new content marketing opportunities around community businesses, such as Salon Superstars. Olszewski also eschewed the idea that advertising and editorial couldn’t mingle on the pages of a magazine and created a themed page featuring advertisers’ products in each issue. “Say the theme was turquoise,” explained Olszewski, “then we would feature all the cool products our advertisers had for sale that were turquoise. It sounds simple, but it was really effective.” Not only were the advertisers pleased, but the readers wanted to buy these products.
4. “Get rich. Target a niche.”
This was one of the sales secrets Davis provided in his session “Unbundled: Selling More By Focusing on the 5 Things No One Can Deliver Better Than A Media Brand.” Davis expanded on his idea of content brands in this session, explaining how media salespeople could actually execute content brands that advertisers want to sell around. His advice was to target a niche through “fractal marketing,” meaning divide and subdivide an advertiser’s audience down to the smallest group and create content for them.
Tractor Supply, a retail store for farmers, did this through a partnership with “The Chicken Whisperer.” They found an enthusiastic niche -- hobbyist farmers who raise chickens in their backyard -- and used content from The Chicken Whisperer radio show, hosted by Andy Schneider to attract customers. Tractor Supply invited Schneider to speak at their stores on “Chick Days” and attendees would then buy new chicks and chick feed. These events attracted hundreds of attendees and generated over $21K in revenue from chick and chick feed sales in the first year. Davis estimated that would grow to over $8 million in revenue over the next 10 years as “Chick Days” expand to more stores and as past attendees return to Tractor Supply to buy more chick feed.
5. “$30 billion goes to agencies, so we started talking like an agency to our advertisers.”
Caroline Nuttall, founder of Charleston lifestyle magazine CHARLIE, said this during the second Reboot case study, explaining why CHARLIE stopped selling advertising completely. Instead, the publication created content platforms for its advertisers that were completely separate from the magazine brand. One of those platforms was The Desperate Chef, a YouTube series that sent an expert chef into the homes of Charleston residents to cook them a gourmet meal from whatever was in their kitchens. Nuttall pitched this idea to cookware company Le Creuset and was able to get them to underwrite the production of the series. Nuttall said she never would have been able to get this company to advertise in CHARLIE, but by pitching a big idea that connected the Le Creuset brand to compelling content, she was able to close a six-figure deal.