From April 10-12th, in Chicago, many B2B media professionals gathered at MediaGrowth Summit 2018 to discuss the market's evolutionary changes, new advancements, and trends.
The ad sales market is constantly changing, and ever-evolving. Reps are now expected to do more than ever before, and the complexity of the market can sometimes seem overwhelming.
MediaGrowth Summit is a conference created for B2B media executives of any kind, of all levels. This year, attendees discussed the complexities of the market and where it could be heading next. They shared ideas, success stories, and anecdotes about their businesses.
The theme for this year's Summit was, "Embracing new ideas to generate growth. No one has all the answers, everyone has a few."
The idea of the conference is for B2B media executives to get together and pool their ideas for the greater good of the industry. While, "no one has all the answers," this year's theme states that, "everyone has a few," signifying that, at this event, B2B professionals can serve as a collective, to improve and grow ad sales for everyone involved.
Throughout the event, there were a variety of conversations, spanning the topics of lead generation, new technology, print, video, and on to individual presentations by a number of different companies. Speakers included members of Bobit Business Media, Winsight Media, Watt Global Media, Brief Media, Hart Energy, and much more.
Given the variety of speakers and insights, there was plenty to takeaway from the event. We narrowed it down to four.
4 Takeaways from MGS 2018
1. Ad sales teams are changing.
Eric Bearly of Bobit Business Media discussed how he is replacing most of his sales team with people who are more into marketing. "Our salespeople need to be marketers," said Bearly. The idea is to have reps that can first listen, then provide their leads with the solutions they specifically want, instead of having a list of solutions to offer.
He goes on to add that he wants his team to challenge client ideas if they see fit. "If the advertiser comes with an idea that our salespeople know won't work, they shouldn't just take their money." Bearly also wants his team to go to clients with their own marketing ideas, and to be consultants more than they are simply salespeople.
2. Just because you're B2B doesn't mean your users aren't on social.
Scott LoSasso, CEO of LoSasso Integrated Marketing, made a very important point when he discussed how publishers need to leverage their information across all channels, including social media.
LoSasso cited an example for Practical Machinist, a large manufacturing technology online publication. One of Practical Machinist's top referrals came from Pinterest - the social network used by many to discover food recipes, clothes, and other ideas. For Practical Machinist, Pinterest is an unexpected source for a top-level referral, but they were able to capitalize on the opportunity because they successfully incorporated social into their strategy.
3. Sell Results, Not Data.
Robb Coltin of Hanley Wood talked about the importance of selling the results that come from data, and not the data itself. Media companies need to focus on selling what data can tell clients.
Cotlin said, "Nobody wants to buy data, you want what data can tell you. Data is about incremental growth. It will take you from 85% to 90%. It's not going to tell you everything from scratch... If someone wants cake, don't sell them the ingredients, sell them the cake! Find out why they want data, and sell them on the results, not on the data itself."
This is another way for sales teams to serve more marketing-based messages to prospects and clients, while making data more interesting and digestible.
4. Start small with video marketing.
While it's extremely important for publishers to adopt video, it's most important that they take the proper precaution when planning a video marketing strategy. If taken too lightly, unsuccessful video marketing efforts can take a major toll on a publisher.
Chris Hartnell from Hart Energy stated, "Live streaming will take years off your life. But when it's done right, it's amazing. Treat live streaming like you would treat a cobra - make sure you have a snake charmer, otherwise, you'll get bit."
Here, Hartnell expresses the fact that video can be fantastic, but if not done with the right combination of patience and diligence, can create dire scenarios for publishers.
Hartnell's advice to others? Get an in-house video team, start small, and learn from your mistakes.