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Issue for October 2017

The Market-Savvy Salesperson -- Part II

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 1:44 PM

Focus your sales pitches on the market and business needs of your advertisers.

By William Dunkerley

Today's competitive environment mandates the implementation of increasingly sophisticated sales approaches. With the rapid pace of change in how audiences consume information, advertisers are adjusting their buying priorities like never before. Sooner or later, selling advertising in the same old way will start bringing seriously diminishing returns.

The solution I've been advocating is to transform your sales staff into "market analysts." Sure, their objective will still be to sell advertising. But positioned as market analysts, salespeople will have a greater ability to be truly helpful to your advertisers, gain their trust, and thereby achieve a higher level of sales.

Last issue we examined how collecting reliable data on market seasonality can be instrumental. Armed with that info, your sales staff can advise advertisers when it would be profitable for them to double up on their ad placement. That gives your publication the chance to show your advertisers improved sales results.

How Advertisers Spend

Revenue is one thing. Another issue is how advertisers are spending their money overall. Are advertisers in the field you cover spending their money strategically?

So the next bit of work is to research the pattern of how the companies (advertisers) are spending their money. This is not just advertising expenditures, but all the expenses they incur month by month.

Here's some hypothetical data for that:

Sixteen-month seasonality of expense.

Unlike the revenue we examined earlier, expense shows smaller variation throughout the year.

Now it's time to put both graphs together using the smoothed data. Let's determine the relationship of revenue to expense.

Sixteen-month revenue vs. expense.

You can see that the variation in expense does appear to be less than that for revenue. However, it follows the same overall trend as revenue.

Thinking Strategically

There's one important thing this chart shows that should be valuable in creating responsive sales pitches.

It is that increases in spending seem to lag increases in sales.

In part that may be a result of direct costs in delivering on whatever was purchased to generate the increased revenue. But the spending lag may also indicate that a company's advertising expenditures are being responsive to sales increases instead of being proactive in light of a known seasonal pattern. Proactive ad spending increases could boost an advertiser's chances of gaining sales and market share during seasonal peaks.

This should give advertiser companies some insights that will be valuable in their cash-flow management, too.

Moving Forward

The foregoing business cycle research is but one example of how you can gather information that will increase the market acumen of your sales team. It will also provide a valuable resource to your advertisers.

There are other areas of research in which you can involve your readers. For example, survey them about buyer awareness of the companies on your advertiser and prospect lists. Buyer preference is another topic ripe for research.

Give these research topics a try. You'll increase the market expertise of your sales team and provide a loyalty-creating service for your advertisers as well.

William Dunkerley is principal of William Dunkerley Publishing Consultants, www.publishinghelp.com.

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What's in Store for Magazines in 2018

Posted on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 1:43 PM

In the news: What do magazine editors and publishers expect for the coming year?

In August and September, Folio: surveyed its readers about their outlook for 2018. Earlier this month, Tony Silber reported on the survey's findings. All told, nearly 70 percent of participants expected at least some growth in 2018, some in the double digits. Only 5 percent anticipated decline next year.

Perhaps more noteworthy than the overall optimistic outlook were the top expected drivers of growth. Print and digital advertising tied for second place at 46.1 percent apiece. But the leading anticipated driver of growth in 2016 for the survey respondents was events. This reflects a growing trend among many publishers for whom events have presented compelling revenue opportunities.

Read Silber's complete write-up of the survey findings here.

Also Notable

The "Weinstein Effect" Hits the Magazine Industry

This month, top staffers at multiple magazines have faced serious sexual harassment allegations. Leon Wieseltier, formerly of New Republic, saw his upcoming new culture magazine shuttered before it ever hit the newsstand after allegations about his behavior at New Republic surfaced. At Artforum, publisher Knight Landesman resigned after complaints surfaced. Elsewhere, Condé Nast International and editors at select other publications, including Harper's Bazaar, cut ties with controversial photographer Terry Richardson.

Layoffs and Circulation Cuts Ahead for Time Inc.

Next month, Time Inc. will be implementing another round of layoffs. Up to 200 employees, roughly half of them editorial, could be eliminated. Several weeks ago, Time also announced that it would be cutting the number of print issues. According to Paul Fletcher of Forbes.com, "Sports Illustrated would go from 38 issues a year to 27. Entertainment Weekly would drop four issues from 38 to 34; Fortune would lose a quarter of its issues, from 16 to monthly. And Money would be published 10 times a year instead of 11." Read more here.

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