Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Working With Sales On Promotions

In most operations the days of having a big promotions budget for a contest or funding an event have faded away.  That doesn't have to stop you from building some creative on-air promotions and also helping the sales team work with some very valuable clients.  Yet we often see lots of the ideas we have in the programming meetings fall apart when we try to field them with the sales teams.  Here are some tips for both sales and programming to help build on air promotions together:  

  • Plan Ahead - Walking into a Sales meeting on August 1st to lay out a Fall Client Promotions package is way too late.  You should be approaching the sales team 6-7 months ahead of the promotion start.  
  • Bring lots of ideas and keep an open mind.  Walking in with a detailed plan that requires a Shelby Mustang for the prize and lots of rules/limits will probably end up with no clients wanting to join in.  Look at which clients have done promotions in the past, who is new or looking to make a move in the market.  Then consider what potential their products could have and look for a couple of 'example ideas' to pitch.  
  • Let the Client Join In-  If you let the client have some ownership you will probably make the sale sooner and you'll also have a lot more cooperation during the promotion.  
  • Follow Through: Once you have a promotion set to roll make sure to deliver 110%.  Make sure you get an A grade.   This does become somewhat of a marriage and you don't want to end up in divorce court with the client - it could be costly and tough on your reputation.   
  • Be Patient - If you have enough lead time you can be patient and often it takes a while to get a client interested and find the common ground to build a good promotion for both the station and their business.  
Lastly remember that Job 1 in the sales world is not selling the promotions.  It's about selling commercials and helping the clients market their products, brands and services on the air.  Promotions may help that effort for some.  Also keep in mind that promotions take time from the sales team and that time could be a sales call somewhere else with dollars involved. 

Even though your Spring book is still in the field as I write this you should be well into working on your Fall promotions.  Your sales teams should be including invitations to key clients on participating with the station in Fall promotions and you should have a number of target ideas circulating through the sales department.     

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