Three Final "Plays"

Over the last three weeks, I've posted on several new "plays" that the media seller can run once the "transactional" side of our business — the buying and selling of "holes in pages" — becomes fully automated. Today we'll examine three final plays that the progressive sales organization should think about running.

If you've looked at my last two Drift posts you're getting the message that thinking outside "the boxes" -- the banner box and the box that is your own site or set of domains -- is going to be a survival skill for the digital media seller in the coming months and years. Simply 'running ads' is fully commoditized, and its already razor thin margins get even worse. As you've read, the successful seller must run new plays outside the normal ecosystem -- and in some cases outside even the web itself. Which brings me to....

Crossover Promotion: Virtually every marketer is focusing on real world, terrestrial transactions or relationships. The OTC brand marketer wants his buyer at Duane Reade or Rite Aid to hear customers asking for his product; the marketing manager for Dos Equis wants people showing up in droves at the beach volleyball tournament; the CMO for Vitamin Water is obsessing about the fun-run the brand is supporting in Central Park. We need to be obsessing about those events too. As you create distributable brand environments for your clients, are you integrating Foursquare Check-in or Facebook Places into your ideas? Being the sales rep with a strategy for crossover promotion is a huge differentiator and will get you into a brand new conversation and out of the RFP death spiral.

Members Only: Reading the headlines we see see publishers increasingly putting up tollbooths and fences around their content. Wired's Chris Anderson says all this content will live in the closed environments of iPad apps. The New York Times reportedly plans to charge for access to its online edition. More will follow. The opportunity this creates for the seller/advertiser relationship is meaningful sponsorship. Write deals in which marketers pay the freight for consumers to gain access to premium content or services.

Elevate Insights: In a recent workshop I challenged a group of sellers to imagine the kinds of insights they could provide to marketers if those insights were indeed what they were getting paid for. Do you hear the consumer's voice through feedback loops or comments? Can you see what messaging they favor? Can you share insights on a particular market segment or psychographic? For too long 'insights' has been something of an inside joke between media buyers and sellers; window dressing that gave a fig-leaf of respectability to our naked financial transactions. But as the media seller begins to truly think like a marketer, she comes to realize that insights are what she's getting paid for. She just happens to be getting paid in the currency of media dollars.

Want to know more? Have an example to share? Other plays to suggest? Share your thoughts below.