Bridge or Parachute?

by Doug Weaver on December 9, 2014 at 10:43AM

bridge or parachuteA couple of years ago in this space, I wrote about objections that we hear from buyers. More accurately, the post was about the statements that sound sort of like objections that we hear from non-buyers – those who have no intention of doing business with us, and who frankly just don’t want to face another option or have another conversation. I call these Scarecrow Objections.

This morning I want to add another bit of language to the canon: Objection of Interest. I’ve just started using this term in sales workshops and it’s proving valuable. An Objection of Interest is a (1) legitimate question or issue that’s (2) raised by a customer genuinely interested in a commercial relationship with you and (3) has the authority and means to advance the deal.   An Objection of Interest is like the bridge to a sale: if you can cross this, we can continue down the path together.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments and provides tools for internal pricing and packaging. Video and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

The Scarecrow Objection, on the other hand, is not a bridge at all. It’s a parachute that allows a disinterested or non-qualified buyer to eject from the conversation. They’re not going to volunteer the fact that they’re not really interested: why would they? So they ask us rote questions about minute differences in technology or policy. Or they tell us they need a case study to prove a point. And sometimes they simply put us off with vague promises of later consideration – an RFP which leads nowhere, a buying cycle that never materializes.

My advice is to measure any objection or issue you hear from a potential customer against the 1-2-3 test outlined above. If you think it fails to meet two of the three standards (or if it does not meet the second one alone) then you’re looking at a Scarecrow Objection.   Do not waste time and energy uncovering facts or chasing down details and case studies: those are hours of your life you’ll never get back. Instead, simply qualify the objection: “If we could successfully solve that issue, would you then make the recommendation to fully invest with us?” On rare occasions, you’ll transform a Scarecrow into a legitimate Objection of Interest and create a new opportunity to sell. More often your “buyer” will show her true colors and the conversation will melt into a puddle of non-commitment.

I’ll talk more in a future post about how to open, pre-close and collaborate with the customer when you’re facing a legitimate Objection of Interest. (If you want to hear sooner, drop me a note.) But in the meantime, I feel good in helping you avoid the costly, pointless exercise of debating with a Scarecrow.

Getting Quiet Again.

by Doug Weaver on December 4, 2014 at 8:30AM

Getting Quiet AgainIn a 2012 post,  I recommended Susan’s Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” It’s no less relevant today — probably even more so.  So take a little quiet time, soak in this re-post, and then check out the author’s TED Talk.  You’ll start to celebrate and appreciate the introverts in your world in whole new ways.

The core idea in “Quiet” is that our culture – especially in education and business – incubates and celebrates extroverts, while giving short shrift to the potentially powerful contributions of the introvert.  We organize our classrooms into “discussion pods,” and reward students for vocal participation and visible group “leadership.”  Our business culture revolves around committees, task forces and work groups, all so we can collaborate our way to success.  Along the way, we’ve come to the conclusion that the loudest voice belongs to he (and it’s very often ‘he’) who is the most confident, and therefore the leader.  If forced to conform to today’s cultural and business climate, introverts like Gandhi, Warren Buffet, Eleanor Roosevelt, Larry Page, Bill Gates and (!) Dale Carnegie would never have emerged as leaders.  The logic is inescapable, and there’s plenty of advice on how companies can better leverage the deep insights and massive potential of the introverted third of the world.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

But the thing that really grabbed my attention in the TED Talk was this:  Our celebration of extroversion has brought about the near death of our ability to work alone; to puzzle over a problem or incubate the germ of an idea.  Our individual inability to stay with a problem causes us to lunge at simple solutions.  In sales, this promotes a “grab and go” culture in which the seller over-relies on marketing services to “come up with ideas.”  Often it ends up a shallow, frustrating exercise for all involved.

In the workshops I conduct with sales teams I have started to look for the introverts and carefully draw out their ideas and solutions.   Having spent a little more time in their own heads, their thinking is almost always more complete.  And I’m encouraging all sellers – introverts and extroverts alike – to schedule 30 minutes of unplugged ‘quiet time’ during each business day (and 60-90 minutes on the weekend) to consider problems and ideas on behalf of your customers.  Call it your daily “time in the wilderness.”  You’ll be amazed at what it does for your confidence and effectiveness.

As Susan Cain says, “Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.”  Try some today

The Unmanaged.

by Doug Weaver on November 21, 2014 at 11:50AM

UnmanagedLast month 55 sales leaders joined us at the top of the Hearst building for the final Upstream Seller Forum of 2014. Since the session focused on leadership, we thought it would be a good idea to bring the voice of the front-line seller into the room. So along with our friends at Seller Crowd, we broadly distributed a questionnaire to find out how digital sellers feel about the quality of the leadership and management they get. Close to 600 sellers responded, and a good many more added color commentary via the Seller Crowd site.

If you’re the leader of a sales organization, or if you manage even one or two sellers personally, you should pay close attention to the results.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

The short questionnaire was designed to get a pulse on levels of engagement, empowerment and support that sellers feel. It also factored in distance (are you the home office with your manager or alone in a branch territory?), levels of motivation and empathy (do they feel like their manager really understands their challenges?) Here are just a few of the results:

  • Across the entire population (589 Sellers) only 28% say they feel consistently engaged with their jobs and companies; an equal percentage say they rarely if ever feel engaged. For the remaining 44%, engagement comes and goes. This group represents the huge opportunity for managers.
  • We asked sellers to rate quality of the management they receive on a five point scale from “Exceptionally Well” to “Not at all.” 58% of respondents said they were being managed either “modestly but inconsistently,” “poorly” or “not at all.” Coffee to go with your wake-up call?
  • One might ask whether and how managers can make a difference. Looking more deeply at the “unmanaged” 58%, engagement with their companies was virtually nonexistent. Just 3% felt very engaged, while “rarely if ever engaged” jumped to nearly 50% of this group.

Seller Crowd seeded a few of these findings on its message board and sought comments. Here are a few of the things sellers told us there:

  • Managers too often wasted the precious time in team meetings or 1:1 meetings with seller just going over what was already in Salesforce. Why use potential engagement and creative time to go over numbers, which are better and more accurately recorded digitally?
  • Sellers reject “micromanagement” but not because they don’t need help. The busywork of over-reporting crushes them, and they don’t like not feeling trusted. But they welcome the manager who will help them “break the numbers down” and engage with them on strategy to open doors and land business. What are you doing as a manager that’s more important than this?
  • Do meetings with your sellers frequently get bumped in favor of something more critical? Yeah, they hate that. It makes them feel unimportant, disengaged and disconnected.

As we head into the Thanksgiving week, let’s be thankful for the trust sellers give us and their willingness to learn from us. And as we head into the new year, maybe we all commit to filling ‘the digital sales management gap.’

Serving.

by Doug Weaver on November 11, 2014 at 3:12PM

ServiceToday is veteran’s day and we’re using The Drift to send a message that is at once both personal and universal.  The nature of military service in our country today means that the vast majority of us and our children will spend our lives never picking up a rifle or serving on the deck of a warship.  Today is about those who have, who do and who will in the future.

I have a nephew  currently serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, after having already served in Iraq.  I would want for Scott what we should want for all our veterans: to have our society and government equip them for life as vigorously fully as we equip them in the field.  Unfortunately — and this is not political — we are still better as a country at sending people to war than we are in bringing them home.  What the VA and other government agencies can’t accomplish is left to us.

Which brings me to a friend and a cause that I hold dear.  Tom Deierlein was an industry friend and colleague before I ever knew he had a connection to the military.  In a chain of events familiar to those of us who know Tom, he was called back to the military in 2006 to serve as a civilian affairs officer in Sadr City, a Shiite slum in Baghdad.  Immediately he began collecting toys, school supplies, vitamins…anything that would make the lives of suffering Iraqi children and families more tolerable and hopeful.  Short time later, Tom was shot by a sniper, spent most of a year in Walter Reed Army Hospital, learned to walk again, and never looked away from the mission for a second.

The TD Foundation now helps not only Iraqi and Afghan children — supporting girls schools threatened by the Taliban, purchasing prosthetic limbs, arranging transportation for lifesaving surgery — but has now expanded its mission to helping the families of wounded warriors back here in the United States.  Recently, Tom shared with many of us the plight of a seriously disabled vet and his family:  Forced into becoming a nearly full-time caregiver, the soldier’s wife was unable to work. Bills came due, the family car fell into disrepair.  Even the purchase of a medically prescribed bed for her veteran couldn’t be made.  Learning of the situation, Tom was able to simply write a check to make all of this go away.  No bureaucracy, no overhead, no celebrity-filled fundraisers.  Just help.

Knowing what our service members give, I will never feel like I can ever have ‘done my share.’  But I can do something today and so can you.  Make a donation right now.  Even ten bucks…anything.  Then forward this post — or tweet the hell out of it.  Then write me back or post a comment.  Let’s make noise and put a lot more money into the TD Foundation so that Tom can write a lot more checks.

And you don’t even have to dump a bucket of ice water on your head.

Outta Time.

by Doug Weaver on November 5, 2014 at 1:27PM

outta timeWhen I work with managers and sellers in our business there’s one issue that almost always comes up: Time. Finding it, managing it, understanding where it goes. Our business may not necessarily be more intense or frenetic than many others, but it can seem that way. And the very tools that are supposed to help us control time and manage productivity often have just the opposite effect.

I can’t solve all of your issues with the calendar and the clock, but if you’re one of those who ends up asking “So what the hell did I end up doing all day?” at 6 pm, here are a few ideas.

Take Back the First Hour. Millions of American workers start their day on email. Tragic mistake. Instead of a plan for the day or some much needed creative time, we go north to south through the inbox. We priority communication based on who wrote to us most recently. 15 or 20 minutes in, we start seeing the replies to our replies. Most of us never recover. Instead, declare a moratorium for the first 60 minutes of the day (OK, a half hour for the seriously addicted.) Use that “pre-mail” block of time to set priorities, make a plan, or maybe just think about a problem or opportunity.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

Opt out of the String. People CC you on email strings unnecessarily for lots of reasons; sometimes just because they want you to know they’re ‘working.’ Unless you tell them otherwise, they’ll keep doing it. Respond to the string with a comment and they think you actually like it. So tell them already. “Thanks for copying me, but please drop me from the string now. I know you guys can handle this without me.”

Does it Have to Be a Meeting? One thing that kills the calendar and deadens the soul is the proliferation of meetings within companies. There are too many of them, they include too many people, and they almost always lack any productive framework or focus. People are late, they are distracted while there, and they end in confusion and ambivalence. Once you start to push back on meetings – “I’m not sure I need to be part of this?”… “Why do you need me there?” – you start to realize that much of what’s been drawing you into the perpetual meeting is nothing more than fear and inertia.

…and Does it Have to be 30 Minutes? Why do we always meet around a conference table in 30 or 60 minute blocks? Good question. Try the 5/15 meeting instead: A stand up meeting that lasts no less than 5 but no more than 15 minutes. The 5/15 must be centered on a question to be answered or an issue to be solved, and whoever calls the 5/15 must send the question in advance.

Account for Just One Day. It’s an old bromide, but it’s true. Write down everything you do for a single day. It’s eye opening. Only when you get some sense of where the time goes, you can’t begin to control it.

Six Questions for Louis Rossetto, Father of Web Advertising

by Doug Weaver on October 28, 2014 at 4:21PM

Louis Rossetto FinalYesterday, 10/27/14, marked exactly 20 years since Louis Rossetto and Wired Ventures launched the HotWired site, and with it created the first ads on the World Wide Web. I was honored to have been part of that organization and just last week caught up with Louis to hear his thoughts on that time and on what’s happened in the 20 intervening years.

1. Hot Wired launched exactly 20 years ago, giving birth to online advertising.  Did you ever think its offspring would be so numerous and prosperous?

When we were all standing around Brian Behlendorf’s screen and he threw the switch, I was just hoping the server wouldn’t crash when it got its first hit. No, actually, we believed that this was the future of media, and it would eclipse and subsume everything else we were doing. And all is proceeding according to plan.

2. You are first and foremost an editor and journalist.  What do you think of the writing and curation on the web today?

Actually, I’m first and foremost a troublemaker, which anyone who ever worked with me would attest to. But the web today — it’s like asking what do I think about the writing and curation of evolution. Because it’s the ecology itself that’s amazing. No one is writing or curating it, it is writing and curating itself. More and more, it’s becoming a quicksilver representation of the workings of the human brain — which is itself a manifestation of billions of years of evolution.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

3. What companies do you feel are really pushing the consumers web experience forward?

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Airbnb, Kickstarter, WordPress, Pinterest, Flckr, Youtube, Spotify, Amazon, Nest, Gilt, Tripit, Wikipedia, Drudge, and Stumble Upon — sorry the list is pretty dull, but the biggest sites are driving experience, maybe because they are delivering most of it.

4. Wired was very much about privacy and the individual.  Big data is very much a part of all of this right now.  Thoughts?

I hate the fact that all of our life is ending up in databases we have no control over. Especially government databases. Non-government databases I am frankly less scared of. Government databases and intrusion, I guess you could try to curtail, either actively by making your life more opaque to them using technology, or trying to get laws passed — but we already have laws and fat lot of good it does. Profusion of private databases and big data analysis, on the other hand, is pretty much uncontrollable, I figure. In a village, there are no secrets, everyone knows everyone’s business. Well, today we live in the Global Village.

5. Wired used to list Marshall McLuhan on its masthead as “Patron Saint.”  Any new Patron Saints emerging today?

There are a lot of false prophets out there, so I’m not taking that bait. Who said “It would appear that instead of the advertising promoting the product, the product promotes the advertising. But that is not exactly right. Actually, the product promotes the consumer?”  Marshall McLuhan said it in 1995. But wait, Marshall died in 1980. This was Gary Wolf channeling Marshall in an email “interview” we published when I was editing Wired. Who needs another patron saint when you can just channel the original?

6. Give us one word or phrase to describe web advertising these last 20 years and another to describe what it might be in the next 20?

The web marked the “future” — you know, the one model we have in our head, that clean break from the past that will arrive someday, but we can’t say how, we can’t say when, and we can’t say what it will be. We just know it will be so “different” it won’t in any way be like the present.  The past 20 years after HotWired have been “prelude.” And the next 20 will be “prelude.” And then we will again be in the “future” that marks a clean break with life as we know it. (Although we may be there already).

To learn the full story of the birth of our medium, here are links to an article from Fast Company and an incredible podcast from the Internet History Project.

Into the Blue.

by Doug Weaver on October 21, 2014 at 9:24PM

Into the BlueLast week’s post on design thinking and asking beautiful questions has me thinking a lot about sales strategy and how to unlock it. In 2010, I wrote this post on Blue Ocean Strategy, and it seemed worth another look, especially as so many companies and individual sellers are once again navigating so much change.

The master premise of Blue Ocean Strategy is that in formulating strategies, companies spend far too much time benchmarking the moves of their competitors; defining exactly who is in the competitive set, what they do, how well, and how to do it better or cheaper.  Because of this, most companies end up competing in “Red Oceans” for tiny margins through incremental improvements in performance or reductions in price.  These are called “Red Oceans” because they’re crowded with other fish and the water is quite bloody.  In our business it’s almost impossible to miss this phenomenon playing itself out across ad networks, digital agencies, technology players, data providers and sales organizations.  Massive human capital, creativity and energy is burned away in a dispiriting ‘race to the bottom’ that’s inherent in a Red Ocean World.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

Many breakaway successes, on the other hand, employ “Blue Ocean” strategies in which they create whole new market spaces for themselves, spaces where “…competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.”  There are a handful of core principles and strategic moves explored in the book — “Value Innovation,” looking across market boundaries, and creating a ‘New Value Curve’ — and it’s far more detailed in its tactics and examples than just about anything else out there.

And it’s hard to argue with the examples of successful strategies here:  Cirque du Soleil, Southwest Airlines, [yellow tail] Australian wine, Bloomberg, NetJets and even the NYPD all employed Blue Ocean strategies and achieved magnificent results.  The best part?  A Blue Ocean Strategy doesn’t rely on a massive influx of funding or new resources:  one of its strengths is that it helps you manage resource tradeoffs to maximize your customer value and zag while all of your former competitors are still zigging.

Think quickly of the three most dominant names in the digital media and entertainment world today and arguably you’ll come up with the same list I do:  Apple, Google, Facebook.  None of them achieved market dominance through benchmarking and iteration, and all created — and dominated — their own Blue Oceans. I’ve got more work to do but I’m convinced these principles can help many other talented companies break out of the Red Oceans that are sapping their value and burning out their best people.

Beautiful Digital Questions.

by Doug Weaver on October 15, 2014 at 9:49AM

Beautiful Digital QuestionsThe book that has me completely captivated right now is Warren Berger’s “A More Beautiful Question,” which has rapidly become a sacred text to design thinkers and others desperately seeking context in today’s world.  For those of us who live in this hall-of-mirrors digital marketing world, I’d call it required reading.

The book’s central premise is that in the age of Google and instant information, we are virtually drowning in answers and facts.  Rather than clarify our lives, answers ultimately confuse, misdirect, distract and muddle.  Breakthroughs of insight and creativity (of which we are woefully short) only come through better questions – ‘more beautiful questions.’

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by comScore. For media sellers, comScore helps demonstrate the quality of their inventory in traditional and programmatic environments as well as provide tools for internal pricing and packaging. VIDEO and display environments benefit from detailed information about demographics, viewability and non-human traffic.

Facing a huge pile of late fees at Blockbuster, a frustrated Reed Hastings asked “What if there was no such thing as late fees?”  The last Blockbuster closed down earlier this year, and Reed’s resulting company – Netflix – seems to be doing OK.  Amateur painter and professional typist Bette Nesmith Graham asked “What if I could paint over my mistakes while typing, the way I do when painting?”  Her paint and water formula, initially popular with the other secretaries, became Liquid Paper and ultimately sold for $50 million.  There are a raft of other great stories and insights into how beautiful questions come into being and turn into real innovations.  And it all made me wonder:  what are the questions that could create breakthroughs in our business?  Here are a few that I came up with over coffee.   If you’re so moved, add yours to the list via the comments box.

  • What if we eliminated the word advertising from business and revenue models?  How would that change the way we think about creating value and connection between businesses and consumers?
  • What if we each person in your company was forced (and paid) to spend a day each week studying something completely unrelated to digital marketing and technology?  What kinds of new connections and thinking might become real?
  • What might happen if sales teams shifted their focus to value creation and experience engineering?  What if every sales meeting focused on what we did for marketer instead of what we got from the marketer?
  • What if we abandoned architectural and industrial language – exchanges, marketplaces, servers, platforms – and rooted all our metaphors in the language of nature — gardens, forests, ecosystems?  How might that change the way we act and the values we bring to the business?
  • What if there were no such things as initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions?  What if everyone who launched a business knew they would have to live with and tend it until it either succeeded or died?  How might that change the way we lead and create?

These are just what I came up with this morning.  I’ll warn you now:  this questioning thing gets pretty addictive.  I’d love to hear some of yours.

Six Questions for Colin Kinsella

by Doug Weaver on October 7, 2014 at 5:58AM

Colin KinsellaIf you think media is the back office of the advertising business, you’ve been asleep since the late 80s.  As CEO of Mindshare North America, Colin Kinsella knows it’s now the center of gravity.  He’ll share his thoughts in an intimate discussion at the Seller Forum on Tuesday October 28th in New York.

1.    Disruption is a key theme of the Seller Forum.  How are you proactively disrupting the business of Mindshare?

By creating products that change the culture. We’ve created THE LOOP, which helps make us collaborative (with more constituents), and helps us make faster and smarter decisions for our clients.  Through this data-infused system, we develop insights that are put into action every day. This system is changing our culture. It’s a new way of working, thinking and delivering for clients.

2.    Agencies like yours are evolving rapidly.  What’s one thing you value less in publisher relationships than you would have two years ago?

Off the shelf content solutions.  We want to partner to build more specific, real time, programs for our clients that enhance their marketing efforts. So often we’re served standard added value products that we don’t necessarily want to shoehorn into an idea or program.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by REDBOOKS. For ad sales and business development, REDBOOKS is the most effective prospecting and competitive intelligence tool – used by your peer teams at Google, ABC, CBS, Comcast, ESPN, Time, Apple, Adobe and ad-tech companies of all sizes. Real-time, actionable news/alerts, direct contact info + all the context to close sales faster.

3.    Describing programmatic trading in 2010, we used phrases like “real time bidding,” “land rush” and “open exchange.” How would you describe it in 2014?

Real time, strategic media investment.

4.    A media sales leader asks you for advice in building a strategy for growing business with Mindshare.  What do you offer?

For the right partners, they are active members of the team.  

5.    What are the non-traditional places where we should seek the next generation of talent for our business?

This year we just launched an intern program called Data Bytes.  All our interns came from engineering, math, and science disciplines to work in our Marketing Sciences group discovering data correlations and insights. I would encourage all our partners to find those excited by math and art.

6.    Complete this sentence:  “The media agency business is approaching a renaissance because….”

Marketing begins and ends in media.  With change accelerating, point solutions will lose out to connected solutions.  Only a media agency can connect the dots to drive smarter decision and better results.   Our time has never been brighter.

There are just 9 seats left for the Seller Forum. If you are a qualified attendee — top sales leadership in a company that sells advertising and media services to companies like Mindshare and its clients – contact us today for your invitationDon’t miss the kinds of insights and conversations that can happen only at Seller Forum.

And Why Would I Do That?

by Doug Weaver on October 1, 2014 at 3:14AM

And Why Would I Do ThatAs I’ve walked sales teams through the marketing food chain in recent workshops – from CMO and brand managers to client side advertising and media execs to agency leaders to planning teams – one thing has become apparent:  We have a lot to learn about motivations.  While we are awash in statistics and data and all claim to be the agents delivering the best ROI in the world, we’re flummoxed when people simply don’t end up making the decisions we want them to make…and we have no idea why.

Back in June I wrote about the Aristotelean model of persuasion — the sequential dynamics by which persuasion can be allowed to take place – so I won’t cover that here.  Instead, I want to focus today on why the very specific people we try to sell to either will or won’t end up doing something (making a buy, making a recommendation, creating an exception for us, considering new information and more.)

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by REDBOOKS. For ad sales and business development, REDBOOKS is the most effective prospecting and competitive intelligence tool – used by your peer teams at Google, ABC, CBS, Comcast, ESPN, Time, Apple, Adobe and ad-tech companies of all sizes. Real-time, actionable news/alerts, direct contact info + all the context to close sales faster.

First – an aside:  The vast majority of sellers go into the vast majority of calls with no clear idea what they actually want to the other person to do.  When I ask, I hear things like “I want them to understand” or “I want to educate them” or “make them aware” of something.  There must be some gossamer thread that ties these vague, mushy concepts to the ultimate sale, but I can’t see it.  If you don’t know what you want – a decision or action – you almost certainly won’t get it.

The Chief Marketing Officer.  There’s almost always a new CMO. If there isn’t there soon will be.  Average tenure is just a couple of years and they are often tumultuous.  The CMO will make decisions in your favor if they are significant (big deals, big dollars) and if they will help him leave his mark on the business.  He’s like the Hollywood director who thinks of his body of work across many studios and projects.  Keep it interesting, innovative and big. He’s got no time for incremental improvement the slow build.

The Client Advertising or Media Executive.  We see her as the ultimate client, but she in fact has internal clients of her own.  She serves the CMO and her ad or media money rolls up from many individual brands and brand managers. She will make a decision in your favor because it makes her look good to the CMO and brand managers and can be quickly defended based on the numbers.  She has to ultimately worry about whether your plan will work or not.

The Agency Leader or Account Lead.  These folks worry about three things:  Increasing spending by existing clients, preventing those existing clients from straying – either getting a new agency or cutting budgets – and giving their clients innovation and great work while not having to commit much of their own people’s time and energy to it.  Tie your appeal to these points and you’ll have a better chance.

The Media Planner.  Yes, I know many of you want to say “because I got him drunk” or “because he loved the designer Nikes” but there’s a bit more here.  First, understand that there is a limit to the decisions he can even make.  He doesn’t decide strategy, he can’t value the soft qualities of content excellence or brand strength.  He works on an assembly line.  He’ll give you the nod if you keep your request very simple, very clear and costs him no wasted motion or energy.

Make sure you’re assigning the appropriate motivations to the decision maker you’re seeing.  Your life will get a whole lot simpler.