Media companies have significant advantages when it comes to online promotions
The marketing world is experiencing an industry-wide shift from advertising to promotions. The numbers back up this shift. According to Borrell Associates, online promotions spending is expected to surpass $75 billion by 2016 – more than double its current level. In deals alone, BIA/Kelsey projects an increase from $873 million in 2011 to $4.2 billion in 2015. This is a major growth opportunity.
Media companies will need to step up to the plate and make a commitment to online promotions to secure their position. Here are three major advantages they have:
- Significant Audiences and Established Brands. Media websites are often among the top visited sites in their DMAs, and they have outstanding brand equity built on decades of experience being the voices of their communities. Consumers trust their brands and advertisers want to be affiliated with them. Media companies are the ideal conduits to facilitate targeted promotions.
- Promotional Reach. Media can bolster promotions through traditional advertising packages, website and mobile banners, online video spots and e-blasts. These sweeteners can add thousands of dollars in exposure for an advertiser and are proven to increase consumer participation in promotions.
- Connected Sales Forces. Media sales teams have longstanding relationships with local merchants. They know their markets – the people, local tastes and preferences. Local sales forces educate their clients on the opportunities provided by online promotions to add value to existing relationships and renew stagnant ones.
The Time is Now
Media companies should be encouraged that their unique attributes have positioned them for success in the growing field of online promotions. They need to act now or risk missing out on a significant revenue opportunity for years to come. It all starts with having a plan.
Here are seven steps media companies should take to position themselves for success:
- Understand Your Goals. You must define your goals and measure against them. Our clients’ goals include driving revenue, growing e-mail databases, becoming social media agencies, and building relationships with new advertisers or enhancing current ones. Promotions are an area where media have room to grow, so don’t be bashful about challenging your team. Which advertisers are you targeting for business growth this year? Can an online promotion help secure this business?
- Define Your Team. Online promotions are uncharted territory for many sales departments and there is often a lack of clarity regarding which individuals or teams are responsible for their success. While there is no “one size fits all” approach in terms of team structure or size, it is fair to say that online promotions are too important to be anyone’s side project. The right-size team could range from a dedicated sales person, to a stand-alone department or a committee that crosses multiple departments.
- Track Promotional Revenue Accurately. It’s important to account for total revenue generated by a promotion across an organization’s various departments to gauge success accurately. Measuring total revenue will enable you to get a clear picture of which types of promotions are working.
- Invest Behind Your Promotions. It is unrealistic to assume that you can achieve success in promotions without investing in them. Investing in a technology partner is great way to make sure your promotions run efficiently and is usually a low-cost option compared to creating and managing a platform in-house. A good technology partner will also effectively capture user data, which can significantly lower or eliminate costs and time on your end.
- Build a Consumer E-mail Database. As a whole, the media industry has been slow to appreciate the importance of collecting consumer data. In the world of online promotions, the size of a paper’s e-mail database is often the most important factor in determining its viability for advertisers. It is crucial for media companies to make concerted efforts at growing their databases and investing in resources to monetize them. The more promotions you do, the larger your e-mail list will become; and the larger your e-mail list is, the more promotions you’ll be able to bring in. Our partners call consumer databases “the gifts that keep on giving.”
- Develop a Promotions Calendar. A promotions calendar keeps your team on track throughout the year. Holidays and annual events in your community provide regular opportunities for contests, seasonal deals stores, and more.
- Educate Your Advertisers. Your promotions team needs to understand how to sell a promotion to an advertiser and the value they can receive from taking an interactive, multi-platform approach. Be the guide for your merchants and help them understand what online promotions can mean to them and how media companies can provide solutions other players can’t.
The trend towards online promotions is powerful and undeniable. Marketing dollars are continuing to move in this direction and media companies can either position themselves for success or stand idle as others capitalize at their expense. Investing in your property’s promotional capabilities is a tremendous growth opportunity and will pay dividends for years to come.