Over the last two weeks, I’ve posted on several new “plays” that the media seller can run once the “transactional” side of our business — the buying and selling of “holes in pages” — becomes fully automated. Today we’ll examine two more plays that the progressive sales organization should be planning.
Customers may love your food but they may not always want to spend time sitting in a booth in your restaurant. Over the past dozen years, online publishers have focused all their efforts in serving the “on-premise” diner. They spend massively on amassing page views and measure “stickiness” to keep track of how long their patrons linger over their content meals. But this fixation ignores the true nature of internet customers (they like to move around online) and the core need of the marketer (to have their ad messages wrapped in meaningful context).
I believe its time for publishers to open up the drive-thru and start packaging their context to-go. To do this means working directly with marketers to “syndicate” mini content/ad environments — think of little microsites that live within highly functional flash ads. Yes, this means the seller must work directly with the brand on a creative level (see last week’s post), but it frees us from the tyranny of location-based strategy. For starters, a ‘sponsorship’ will no longer be confined to a few hard to predict pages on your site, but rather will be syndicated out across run of site or run of network inventory, making the buy bigger and amortizing the value of your idea by raising the value of the inventory it touches.
Take things a step further and you bump into another of the “plays” I recommend: Become an audience aggregator. Where many sellers see the presence of exchanges and impression trading as a threats, I see opportunities. Now that your “context” is neatly packaged to go, it can not only flow to your site or network inventory, but also out to customers you retarget on ad exchanges (frequency extension) or to look-alike customers you find through the same vendors and relationships (reach extension).
Look at two of the biggest trends in our industry: the resurgence of content (highlighted by the rise of the ‘content farms’) and audience buying. Your sales efforts can be either crushed or re-energized by these concepts. But whatever you do, don’t think for a minute that a ten-year old sponsorship strategy remains relevant today.
Have you started to offer these kinds of services to your clients? What organizational or marketplace issues stand in the way?