Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Newspaper Ad Sales + Commercial Print Sales = MultiChannel Marketing Programs for Small Business

I did a longish post this morning over at Tough Love for Xerox where I follow the Print Output Industry. Here's the part that concerns newspapers.
What might happen if local newspaper ad sales people are brought into the mix with the proper incentives. Then there is the real possibility of offering true multi channel marketing campaigns to Jane and the millions like her.

One trusted contact point for a Newspaper Ad, a web ad on the newspapers site, print collateral and signage. The amount of time, hassle and risk management would be a simple solution to one of her hardest problems.

Simple solutions to hard problems create lots of new value.
To provide some context, Jane's story is below.. For the newspaper world, change Jim, the copier salesman, with Jim - the just hired out-of-college-smart-kid-who-wants-to-get-into- journalism - print/web newspaper ad salesperson.
A possible scenario and new value creation:
Jane, who started a catering firm, when she got laid off a couple of years ago, decides that she needs a brochure and a website. She could go online to do that at VistaPrint, but it's too much hassle. Meanwhile, Jim, a copier sales person who has been calling every once in a while said that he could show her some easy ways to get that done.

In the ensuing conversations, she decides to buy a box to do them herself. She calls her friend Alice, who used to work at the Lehman's communication department, to design it for her.

Two months later, Jane will be catering a large event. JIM, who has been staying in touch to make sure everything is working well with the box sale, suggests that she produce tent cards to put at each setting. It's a great idea, but she doesn't have the time and Alice's business is really starting to take off, so she doesn't want to impose on her again.

The sales person says either A or B
A. "Let me take care of that for you."
B. "Let me connect you with someone I trust that can take care of that for you."


  1. Hi Michael,

    For a lot of businesses, a mutli-channel sales person would be a dream come true. I wrote on a very similar topic, here

    The problem that might arise is the capacity for a sales person to be versed in multiple marketing platforms (radio, direct, newspaper, web etc.) There's a advertising matrix in my old college advertising textbook (Contemporary Advertising - William F. Arens) it lists needs on the left and marketing/advertising vehicles on the top. But such a mechanical process can lead to trouble.

    I think it comes down to the salesperson paradox - can a great sales person also be a tactical expert?

    Is it necessary for the salesperson to be an expert? What are your thoughts...?

  2. I think the trick is team sales. You're correct that finding all these skills in one person is not likely. The problem is less about expert than two different activities.

    Marketing is a quiet job. Scan the horizon, understand how communication works, be open to the simple solutions that get the biggest bang for the buck and work for that client.

    It also needs the time and space to let ideas rumble around, until it's just right.

    Sales is a job that is all about communication with suspects, prospects and customers. Emails, ultra fast responses, quick reflexes and lots of energy.

    I think the most practical solution is to create a team in which on person focuses on marketing, and two people focus on sales.

    The real trick is to make sure there is time and space for the team to talk about what is happening, what needs to happen, and how to get from here to there.