Seven ways to innovate in media sales and marketing

Marketing new content products and services to subscribers and readers requires innovative thinking, and revolutionary approaches.  And developing smart solutions for advertisers and commercial partners is increasingly important.  At the Digital Media Innovation Conference in London recently I devoted a whole theatre to innovation in sales and marketing.  Here are 10 practical ideas from the speakers….

1.     Use data to learn about customers and make tailored offers

Investing in a single customer view database and data analytics skills can unlock deep insights about your audience and allow targeted marketing campaigns, said Jess Burney of Immediate Media.  Bespoke content, tailored partnerships and personalised e-marketing has helped generate £4m of travel bookings for Radio Times in its first year.

2.     Involve customers in developing new products

EMAP invested in needs based research to create new launch HSJ Intelligence and invited eight build partners to review the product every fortnight, asking them about pricing and marketing strategy as well as product features. Rebecca Clayton, CMO at EMAP, was delighted with early sales results from the launch.

3.     Get serious about corporate subscriptions, with dedicated teams

Consider each 121 subscriber as a lead for a multi-user upgrade, and eventually an enterprise sale, said Jon Bentley of Incisive Media.  Hire and retain top quality sales people and give them good analytics to measure how organisations are using the service.

4.     Segment by problem to market better to a fragmented audience

Many media businesses have increasingly fragmented audiences, spanning many industry sectors, job roles, geographies and cultures.  Cory Polonetsky of Elsevier advised a focus on customer problems to simplify segmentation – and developing marketing messages that are built around these problems.

5.     Challenge and advise your advertisers

Customers have already researched the market online before you contact them.  The best sales people offer the client new insight into customers or their business – then they see you as an advisor helping them get better results, said Fergus Gregory of Lloyd’s List.  His team’s focus on a weekly call to clients to review progress has grown renewals and increased spend by 27%.

6.     Streamline your range of creative solutions

Bespoke marketing solutions for clients can mean higher costs, explained Tom Dunkerley, MD of Sift Media.  Streamlining to a smaller number of standard products and encouraging innovation in the message not the platform has paid dividends.  Run a client satisfaction survey at the end of each campaign to check objectives have been met.

7.     Ensure marketing and sales teams work closely together

Marketing teams can provide insights to audience behaviour, useful collateral, and help sales teams develop customer relationships, so a close partnership is essential, according to Steve Budd of Sigaria and Robin Crumby of Melcrum.

Media businesses are shifting from one-off product sales to developing profitable long term relationships, migrating from a product to a service, requiring a greater focus on working in partnership with clients to solve their problems.

About the author:  Carolyn Morgan has launched, grown, acquired and sold media businesses across print, digital and events.  She has programmed conferences on digital publishing and advises publishers on their digital strategy.

If you’d like a chat about how you can reinvent your publishing or media business for the digital age, please get in touch.