NEWS ANALYSIS: Creative solutions blossom as advertisers demand standout - Growing raft of advertisers want more than traditional ads, says

Forget display sales. If you want to make a name for yourself these days it seems you have to work in creative solutions, market development or business development. These are the tags assigned to those who offer bespoke, cross-media client solutions, usually involving promotion and sponsorship opportunities.

Forget display sales. If you want to make a name for yourself these

days it seems you have to work in creative solutions, market development

or business development. These are the tags assigned to those who offer

bespoke, cross-media client solutions, usually involving promotion and

sponsorship opportunities.



But what are these pioneers adding to the marketing mix that can’t be

provided through traditional routes?



New PHD head of press Laura James argues that clients are increasingly

looking to get closer to the media brand and interact with the reader. She

says this requires a more strategic sales approach.



James explains: ’Solutions that provide a relationship between the brand

and the client’s product - preferably with editorial endorsement to

achieve standout - are increasingly what clients are after. In the

multimedia age, they also need to be media neutral.’



Starcom Motive group head Duff Borer agrees that clients are looking to

achieve cut-through by forging media partnerships.



He says: ’Media savvy audiences can spot an advertorial from a mile away

but, if it’s done subtly with media branding and humour, the message is

more acceptable.’



The Daily Telegraph has used packages of supplements, promotions and new

media to win business from the likes of Cisco Systems, Jessops and

Glenfiddich. Head of commercial development Helen Slater stresses the need

for adaptability in the sales approach.



’What we’re selling is the Telegraph brand and a marketing idea. We can

offer newsprint, database and internet executions but we’re not restricted

by them,’ she says.



However, flexibility is governed by the company’s spread of media assets,

and United News & Media with its mix of TV and newspaper interests can

offer more than most. One cross-media deal linked Sea France’s sponsorship

of Meridian’s weather report with a supplement in the Express

magazine.



’But we’re not cross-media selling,’ insists Express business development

manager Sharon Harte, ’we’re utilising the sum of the parts to add

leverage.’



Optimedia managing partner Tim McCloskey fully supports media owners’

claims that they are not cannibalising existing revenue streams.



’In many cases, the money comes from a PR and promotions budget, so it is

new revenue,’ he says.



So how is effectiveness measured and are clients getting better value than

from a display campaign?



Slater says her deals are backed with qualitative research - ’but you

can’t compare it with display, the objectives are different’.



McCloskey admits that creative solutions require a ’leap of faith’ from

the client. Borer agrees that the benefits are often intangible and says

the promises don’t always live up to clients’ expectations.



’Some executions can’t easily be defined and the client doesn’t know what

it’s getting until after the event,’ Borer says.



Even so, James insists this is the future and warns media owners will have

to rethink their sales structures. Emap and one or two others have already

taken note.



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