When a potential advertiser or sponsor approaches Ryan Vincent, director of media sales, EHS, Simplify Compliance, and says, "I would give you this much money if you can do that," like a good improv performer—which I'm sure he is—Vincent answers, "'We can do that.' I'm a big yes man," he said.
Then he gets to work.
Vincent's exceptional session performance—titled The New Frontier of Digital Media Sales Strategy: Relationship Building and Conveying Value—capped off three days of information overload, revenue drivers and networking deluxe at the 43rd SIPA Annual 2019: Make More Money event here in Washington, D.C.
Citing a theme heard often during the conference, Vincent spoke how sales working with your marketing and editorial teams should be an "integral part of our success. You have to bring the teams together so you're all on the same page. You must collaborate and then develop solutions." He listed five ways this can happen:
1. Create a single business strategy.
2. Establish a healthy dynamic.
3. Set expectations for editorial integrity—this is the biggest bullet, Vincent said.
4. Cooperate proactively. "If you give too much on the editorial side, you lose integrity; but if you're soft on sales, you lose money," he said.
5. Create workflows.
Here are more highlights from Day 3 of SIPA 2019:
Get pricing right. At the Keynote CEO Panel – Views From the C-Suite, Denise Elliott, president of Kiplinger, spoke about their new ownership (Dennis Publishing) and excellent content and delivery, and said that making sure they charge the correct price would be the next step. "There's a lot of value in what we produce, and we should be charging an appropriate price."
Hire interns and ask your employees for referrals. Also at that keynote panel, hiring the best talent came up, and more than one CEO said that an internship program is working well for them. "We hired three full-time people after being interns and then contractors," said Mike Lessiter, president of Lessiter Media. "You have to want to be there," he added, a familiar refrain for many niche publishers.
Meg Hargreaves, managing director, content partnerships for FiscalNote, said that CQ Roll Call—they were acquired by FiscalNote last year—always has a steady stream of interns in their newsroom and 80% become full-time employees. Elliott said that Kiplinger has good luck with interns on the editorial side, but they're harder to find for the business side.
Heather Farley, COO of Access Intelligence, added that "some of our best hires come from referrals from our own staff. People like to work with their friends."
"Track everything," advised Charity Huff, CEO, January Spring, during a session titled Lift Your Event Attendance by 50% Using Multi-Media Marketing Tactics, with John Bennett, VP, integrated media, National Business Media. "One of the key things we did early [in our event campaign] was to make sure everything we did was trackable and attributable," Bennett said. "[Ask] where is that audience for your event and what other places are they spending time—and then put your message in front of them there." Later they used Google webmaster tools to find the words people searched for to come to their website.
AI is here. "There's AI around you every day," said Vlad Eidelman, VP of research for FiscalNote in the morning keynote. "Language, speech, customer feedback, translation, search—the ability to ask a question in 2 or 3 words. It has become exciting. A person with technology is better than a person without it, so using some sort of AI, to collect content, analyze content" and so many other tasks will be a big step forward. He said that although the "intuition of what [marketing] campaigns to run can't be automated," the data to generate the hypotheses can be.
The meet of the order. When is your next meeting scheduled with your current advertiser or sponsor, Ryan Vincent asked? "If I'm successful with something, I'm already starting to pitch the next event. I like to have quarterly meetings with current customers."
We'll end with Vincent's wrap-up tips:
1. Become a meeting maniac by conveying value. "Do you have time on Tuesday, Thursday?"
2. Personalize your messages. Blanket emails don't work to convey value. Share research and articles in your marketing.
3. Focus on a business objective that is measured.
4. Start small, think big.
5. Never quit, ever! (Vincent said he has pursued an advertiser/sponsor 3-4 years sometimes before getting a yes.)
6. Ask for feedback and referrals from your customers.