Metro is causing quite a ruckus with its rates hike and its plans
to sell London's new freesheet as a premium moving poster site.
While deputy managing director Mike Anderson has succeeded in dragging
some buyers 'down The Drain' at Waterloo and converting them to his new
religion, others refuse to be convinced, feeling that the paper is
getting ideas above its station.
But for the media sales industry, the most important element of all this
is Anderson's plan to turn the Metro sales team into an all-singing,
all-dancing seller/planner unit. Many in the industry consider the
planner/buyers to be the axis around which the whole communication
process now revolves and, as media fragments, the planner/seller looks
likely to become a more familiar role.
Of course, to some extent planner/sellers already exist. In the first
'Rant' to appear on our back page, a sales manager complained that she
was often asked to do much of the planning and creative work for the
buyers who were interested in using her magazine. Although sales people
rarely get involved in originating ads - the Dove ad in Now being an
exception (see p9) - they are already responsible for thinking about
which ads fit into which products, and they are constantly trying to
think of innovative ways and places to use the creative.
Most senior sales people could give buyers a very comprehensive rundown
on the best way of reaching a target audience. The seller/planner is
already here, it's just that they have never been recognised as
If Anderson's gamble works, and he is able to raise rates, partly by
having a more sophisticated sales-force, other media owners may consider
giving salespeople titles and job descriptions that recognise their
broad range of skills and planning abilities.
It's called adding value and it's hard to believe no-one's tried it