By: Chuck Nau
“Over the river and through the woods” that old refrain may sum up in a nutshell where many ad decisions have gone in the past few years.
With the advent of new media, the consolidation of businesses and resulting staff reductions, coordinating “face to face” interactions with current and potential advertisers has become more challenging. Ad decisions are made on shorter and shorter deadlines, only to be changed again. Ad business that we thought was sold and committed, many times needs to be resold and the benefits reinforced again and again in subsequent emails, phone conversations or sales calls.
Just as our business has changed, so has it for our once so-called ‘local retailer’.
As the national retail chains have expanded and moved into many smaller non-metro markets and our local or regional chains have consolidated and centralized offices, we have seen more and more of our advertising decision makers move out of market to distant locations.
Add to that the proliferation of multi-location retailers and absentee owners, and suddenly we realize that many ad dollars for our newspaper and its various products that used to be just down the street are now down the interstate or even out of state!
So how do we reach and sell those out of town decision makers whether it is an existing regional or national chain retailer that has been in your community for some time or a newly arrived or soon to arrive retail operation?
Via email? Clipping your business card to your ratecard or media kit and hoping for the best? Making numerous ( … did I mention unsolicited?) telephone calls to retailer’s corporate advertising or marketing office?
Good luck with those efforts. Based on my experience and numerous conversations with a variety of retail and service orientated corporate ad decision makers, the aforementioned actions are fruitless and will not deliver the outcomes you desire.
TO BE SUCCESSFUL … with those soon to open, newly opened or existing regional and national chain retailers or service providers in your community … START LOCALLY.
To gain the attention and subsequent advertising support from regional and national chain retailers or service providers (out of market) decision makers, you must start at the LOCAL management contact level.
Simply begin by introducing yourself AND your newspaper and its products to your chain retailers or service providers LOCAL manager, her staff and any and all store/facility personnel that you encounter.
Don’t be distracted, swayed or put off when they respond “I have no decision making power” or “I have no influence” or “It’s not up to me”.
Persevere … Hang In There!
Ask questions! Uncover, learn and understand what THEIR problems and challenges are within your community. First and foremost – LISTEN and LEARN.
Once you understand THEIR situation in your community, offer suggestions, demonstrate the benefits/solutions you and your newspaper products will bring to the forefront to help them, as individuals and collectively as their store becomes successful.
As you continue developing and strengthening your relationship, trust and integrity with your local manager ask for THEIR direction, support and recommendation as you begin planning to initiate contacts at the out of market regional or corporate office.
When contacting your out of market decision maker share with them your local efforts and the local input, helping them envision the benefit both for that individual store and possibly chain wide.
Last but not least, be sure all of your local contacts for your targeted retailer have been ‘coached’ on an ongoing basis to support your selling efforts. Why?
In many larger or multi-location retailer operations, the selling of your newspaper and its various products needs to continue when you are not present (e.g. the local store management team MUST support your efforts).
BEFORE, the out of market regional or corporate office decision makers opt to use your newspaper products … they will do one last thing. They will make a phone call to your local store manager to access that local manager’s reaction (commitment?) and support (highly recommend?) to “go” or “no go” with you and your newspaper products.
Persevere … Don’t Give Up!
Remember, the larger the ad dollar investment and commitment, the larger the value proposition ( … why invest in YOU and YOUR newspaper products) has to be. Building that value proposition takes time and commitment … BOTH from you, your newspaper and your local regional or national chain store management team.
You can and will be successful with a regional and national chain retailer or service provider! How do I know? Simply put, you represent THE local media that is held in the highest regard with the highest integrity by its community’s residents.
Plus, your media, your newspaper’s web site has the largest, in terms of unique visitors, internet footprint in your community, too!
© Murray & Nau, Inc.
Chuck Nau of Murray & Nau, Inc. is a Seattle area based publishing consultant and sales and management trainer. He has been a speaker for and conducted advertising, marketing, management and sales training workshops with newspapers, niche publishers, publishing groups and press associations, throughout North America.
Comments and questions are welcome and may be directed to Chuck via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or at (425) 603 – 0984