OPINION: Brave new Emap sales outfit must allay buyer fears

By and large, media agency land is commending the efforts of Emap’s ambitious managing director Tom Toumazis to stick his head above the parapet and construct a new cross-selling, market sector-led sales model.

By and large, media agency land is commending the efforts of Emap’s

ambitious managing director Tom Toumazis to stick his head above the

parapet and construct a new cross-selling, market sector-led sales

model.



For planner/buyers with large blue-chip clients that use a variety of

media in clear market sectors - like 18- to 25-year-old music fans -

it’s a dream come true. You’ve got Mixmag, Kiss and The Box in one fell

swoop and, hopefully, at a knock-down price. Well, maybe it’s not a

dream, but at least there will be two fewer sales people traipsing

through their offices.



However, while Toumazis basks in the spotlight of the media trade press

and Emap bosses rub their hands with glee at the prospect of reduced

costs, they should be aware that not all agency folk are jumping for joy

at the idea.



For a start, while some small agencies are billing themselves as

communications specialists whose planner/buyers are jacks of all trades,

most large traditional agencies are still rigidly divided into separate

television, press and radio buying departments. A television buyer has

probably never bought magazine space before, so who will Toumazis’

cross-selling army talk to? It takes blood, sweat and tears to pin down

a senior agency figure for more than five minutes.



A more basic worry is that not many agencies have clients which fit the

new Emap model. One big agency has around 46 clients on its books but

could name just one that might want both Emap’s magazines and radio on

the same schedule. A mere handful of the agencies’ customers are using

magazines and radio at the same time, so the chances of them wanting to

choose two or three Emap products are slim to say the least.



Agency people also have fears about conditional selling. OK, strictly

speaking it’s illegal, but we all know it goes on. Their attitude is, as

long as they can call up their old ad manager and just buy space in FHM

or Elle without being pressed to buy radio or television, then Emap

should go for it - and good luck. So as well as selling the ’market

makers’ to agencies that are structured in such a way as to be able to

deal with them, Emap would do well to allay the fears of its more

traditional customers and reassure them that it is business as

usual.



The final criticism is a harsh one and bound to raise a few hackles.



My agency contacts are all genuinely puzzled about who has the ability

to sell across three different media. ’All the sales people I’ve ever

met can’t hold two ideas in their heads at the same time,’ says one

particularly blunt buyer.



I guess its up to Toumazis to prove them all wrong.



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