It’s interesting to me how often we get caught up in the details and lose track of the the big picture. So quickly we start talking about things like traffic, uniques, click through rates and the like and while all of these things are important and part of pricing the value of digital – be they banner ads or something more – these should be the last things discussed in the sales cycle.
At Locable we talk about creating “The Main Street of the 21st Century” and we talk about it a lot. We love the analogy and believe it makes understanding the value proposition we have for local businesses in a human way as opposed to the jargon-infused rant of a digital sales person.
Likewise, every magazine has their own value proposition that explains why advertisers buy and why readers read. Sure the price is based in part on circulation but it’s not the number so much as the audience orientation and location that makes the ad buy click for businesses. Growing and selling digital is about extending the values and value proposition of the publication in new ways online, which includes taking advantage of what the medium affords us, but the conversation with advertisers should remain unchanged.
You’re not selling something new you just have more flavors of your existing product to sell – which is the experience you deliver – and ideally the flavors work together to enhance the overall enjoyment of your brand. Or, in Locable parlance, the integrated approach builds community and help local businesses join the conversation.
Just yesterday I spoke with a publisher and his team in Tennessee where I was highlighting the various ways publishers can deliver value and monetize the web and he was struggling to connect what I was saying to a sales pitch for his clients. It was my mistake to not outline that I was explicitly attempting to educate them about the options not providing talking points so I asked him to explain why his advertisers buy with him today. He concisely and effectively communicated the three reasons local businesses advertise in his magazine:
- Extremely targeted distribution resulting in an incredibly desirable audience
- Well aligned and very high quality product that the recipients want to read
- Aligned organizational values and professionalism
The funny thing about this is that he didn’t say the word magazine much if at all, and while he mentioned paper-stock as part of the description of the high quality it was a symbol of differentiation more than a fundamental aspect of the value.
The lesson here is that publishers don’t need to change their talking points when they evolve to embrace digital and only when the advertiser asks the question “how” do you even need to introduce, “Well, we put together packages that span print, web, and social media…. let’s talk about your objectives.”
It is and always has been about helping local businesses reach their objectives, when you combine the things you already do well with the benefits of new media (aka bringing a media mindset) you’re able to meet the business owner where they’re at, educate them on the array of new options available to them, and deliver incredible value for which you’re rewarded via new incremental revenue and a growing, more healthy, more future-proof business than ever before.