Successful commercial partnerships for media owners

Media owners are finding their advertising clients these days are far more demanding, expecting to be able to measure the real business value of their campaigns, rather than relying on the simple reach of any advertising activity.  Mere banners, links and MPUs are just not enough when the online ad market is awash with low-cost inventory.  So how can specialist media owners develop long-term, successful commercial partnerships in this tough environment?  I met yesterday with Duncan Tickell, MD of Magicalia, and Paul Hood, Head of Digital at Mirror Group, who are both taking part in a session at the Specialist Media Show Conference on 25 May on this topic, and picked up some insights, based on their campaigns for bike manufacturers, parenting clients and music publishers, that I believe can be used by large and small media businesses alike.

1. Listen hard

A great commercial partnership starts with listening carefully to the client’s problem – how they want to position their product, who they are targeting and their marketing challenges.  Media commercial teams need to act like agencies rather than space salespeople.  Most winning campaigns are initiated by clients, although some agencies play an important role.

2. Invent a bespoke solution

Media owners need to understand their own customers/readers intimately and appreciate how they make buying decisions.  This insight – plus editorial creative input – is the key to creating bespoke campaigns that really deliver for advertisers, using online tools, competitions, and new ways to engage readers, whilst employing print media in a supportive role.  So having an editorial team that appreciates the value of long-term commercial relationships is crucial.

3. Execute brilliantly

Bespoke campaigns are more complex, and involve editorial teams, developers, data analysis and research, not just the traditional media sales team.  Delivering the results the client is seeking is dependent on a well-organised execution of the campaign.  Media owners will need to develop their team’s ability to work across internal disciplines and deliver complex campaigns.

4. Create content

The best integrated campaigns create data and content – whether that is playlists of readers’ favourite tracks, or new original bike designs – that can be published online, used to inform editorial content, or even make it into print.  Successful campaigns make great case studies too.

5. Spirit of partnership

These types of commercial partnerships are hard to set up, but once they are proven to work well for both advertiser and media owner, will turn into long-term business relationships.  Media commercial teams need to focus on delivering the best possible outcome for their client, rather than the optimal short-term revenue win for the media business, and reward and recognition need to reflect this.

To hear more from Duncan and Paul and learn from case studies of commercial partnerships in their own specialist media businesses, book to attend the Specialist Media Show Conference, on 25 May at Exec Peterborough and gain practical tips from sessions on events, digital marketing and how to profit from digital media.

About the author: Carolyn  Morgan runs Penmaen Media, a consultancy advising media owners on how to profit from digital media and marketing. She is also content director for the Specialist Media Show. If you’d like an informal discussion about how you can develop successful commercial partnerships please contact us for a chat.

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