Right…Left…Repeat…

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Right Left RepeatAt the AppNexus Summit I attended this week, the vast majority of the “publishers” in attendance were actually the programmatic and yield leads for their companies, and not CROs. It reminded me that we still live in a somewhat segregated world, and that this Drift posted in 2011 still rings true.

Many publishers don’t have a revenue strategy: most have two.  And that’s something that’s just got to stop. Most revenue people — CROs, EVPs and SVPs of Sales — are probably right-brain dominant.  They and their teams get out of bed ready to tell creative, persuasive stories about value….to leverage that which is special and scarce….to integrate marketers into their environments, and earn a premium for doing all this.  Once all the creative, right-brain stuff is over, that which remains unsold and uncommitted moves over into the left-brain world; a world filled with algorithms and decisions about supply, demand, price and yield….a world where we manage staggering abundance.

This week’s Drift is underwritten by Krux, which helps marketers and publishers worldwide deliver more personal, more valuable advertising, content, and commerce experiences, improving revenue performance and deepening engagement across all consumer touchpoints. Clients include companies like Kellogg, Time Warner, Meredith, BBC and Ticketmaster, with enterprises achieving 10x return or higher on their investment. Visit krux.com to learn more.

Many publishers have created dual strategies to serve these environments.  The CRO and sales team drive the right-brain direct sale effort.  The left-brain effort is largely outsourced to a huge cast of players (it takes a village) who manage what is collectively called “the remnant strategy” or “secondary market.”

But as I’ve been reading in Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind:  Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age,” there are no pure right brain or left brain activities:  the two sides of the brain are constantly working with and informing one another.   And so it must also be with revenue strategy.

The next stage in the evolution of strategic sales leadership will focus on the synthesis of primary and secondary sales channels.  The sales leader will break down the walls segregating direct sellers and indirect channels.  Those channel partners who would serve the publisher will no longer act like a back-channel, but will instead become ever more curious and participatory in the publisher’s total revenue strategy.  Insights from the secondary channel will inform the actions and choices of primary sellers;  and the value driven by the primary seller will set meaningful parameters and goals for the secondary channel. Left brain speaks to right brain; and vice-versa.

Every publisher talks about wanting more control.  But what many do not yet realize is that control is not about power, but rather about balance.  And seeking balance through a unified revenue strategy is an active choice you can make today.

What do you think? Are publishers getting any closer to the kind of balanced revenue strategy that I called for in 2011? And do you think they even need to? Leave your comments below.

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