OPINION: Net sales outfits must rise above fast-cash greed

Campaign Media Business will be full of spelling mistakes, unfinished sentences and hideous libels this week, because we have had to produce it so quickly.

Campaign Media Business will be full of spelling mistakes,

unfinished sentences and hideous libels this week, because we have had

to produce it so quickly.



You wouldn’t tolerate this excuse from us, but you are being asked to

accept it as an excuse for poor service among the new-media sales

community.



Britain’s biggest online buyers last week blasted these ’appalling’

service standards in Media Business. Since then the horror stories have

flooded in, with buyers and planners from various organisations

reporting that the web sales houses and salespeople are arrogant, show

little or no strategic planning ability and fail to monitor the

effectiveness of campaigns.



Naturally you will find plenty of exceptions to these rules, but just

about every new-media sales house mentioned in these pages has come in

for some flak from one buyer or another. And online ad monitoring

software has also been roundly criticised.



In forming a defence, the new-media sales folk have focused on the

shortage of talent in the business and on the breakneck speed of

development in their industry. I suppose there were leaves on the line

too.



Frankly, if good sales talent is lacking it has a lot to do with the

shortsighted attitude with which many companies look to their rivals for

new staff, rather than developing talent from outside the business.



While venture capital and capital raised from share-issues have been a

good thing in allowing e-trepreneurs to flourish, it sometimes seems

there is more money than sense in the business. With less cash, perhaps

more junior staff would have been cultivated.



It must be time for the major players to get together and work out how

to recruit and train graduates. Hungry graduates who are, in effect,

investing in their own future by improving standards in the industry,

would surely be better than some of the money-grabbers currently being

drafted in.



The ’industry is developing so fast’ excuse won’t wash either. As any

new-media employee who has looked beyond the big bucks will tell you,

most of the same business principles apply online and offline.

Developing a great reputation for service is crucial to the long-term

success of any business. You don’t win that reputation unless you work

at it from the start - your principles can’t be sacrificed just because

the business is in its hectic formative stages.



If the sales houses in question want to establish a

pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap reputation, that is fine and dandy. But many

are claiming they offer wonderful planning and monitoring services, when

in fact their only goal is shifting inventory.



If it can’t be done properly at speed, either slow it down or attempt

less. Establish proper practices now, or suffer later.



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