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
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
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
’But we’re not cross-media selling,’ insists Express business development
manager Sharon Harte, ’we’re utilising the sum of the parts to add
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