Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Have I got a great advertising deal for you

It might seem odd how often display advertising space salesmen just happen to have one remaining space left  to sell before the issue closes.

We have remarked previously how selling is more concerned with the present and marketing concerned with planning and the future. The advertising space sale, pitches the salesman against the marketer. The salesman is looking for an impulse purchase when he calls and will tempt the prospect with a much reduced price - because they are 'just about to close the issue', which also happens to have a feature that is very relevant to the marketer's products. Interestingly many marketers are tempted and buy, justifying the space purchase on the grounds that it is a good deal and the issue it appears in is right for the company.

The wise marketing manager will have planned a campaign, analysed the media, negotiated series rates and booked the space at an advantageous price compared to rate card, all within a pre-determined budget. So when ad hoc deals are proposed it is easier to decline, content in the knowledge that the campaign is already set to achieve the company objectives, not help a salesman hit a target. But there is another interesting aspect to this advertising space 'fire sale' and that is the relative cost compared to other marketing activities. Because the special 'buy now' price is steeply discounted compared to the rate card and also usually less than a negotiated series rate, it sounds like a good deal. The rate card for a full page display advertisement in a leading UK engineering publication for example is £3950 and in another £4250. A 12 month series drops to around £3100 a page. Now good negotiation could significantly reduce this much further but it will still be a significant sum. A sum of money that could actually buy quite a lot of other marketing services. Oddly  because many marketing people are aware of advertising prices, the discounts and deals they seem more willing to pitch up a thousand pound for space than invest a few hundred pound in something new that could actually generate better returns.

Dropping a few advertisements from a campaign or schedule is unlikely to weaken the campaign but could free up some modest marketing budget to invest in new and different ways that could prove more valuable.

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