For almost a decade, print media brands have travelled an arduous journey towards transforming legacy platforms and aligning their future with rapidly changing media consumption habits.
What is apparent to both readers and advertisers is the switching of delivery platforms (subscriber and retail sales) to online subscriptions. Less apparent and running concurrently with these seismic and often painful changes brought about by technology, is arguably the most awaited shift within print media organisations – transforming their internal sales and marketing strategies to address both direct client and media agency requirements.
Marketers and their agencies have not escaped rampant technological changes. A recent article in The Media Online argues that it’s all about data and marketers who fail to embrace the changes and upskill, will be most severely affected. Agencies have struggled with working from home and missed face-to-face meetings with clients and their media owner partners. Of course the pandemic continues unabated, with a feeble economy and political uncertainty fueling anxiety levels.
Your vision. Your brand purpose.
Late last year Ads24 successfully completed the realignment of its media sales division to mirror the significant advances the group has made in expanding their brand portfolio. The future is exciting and recent market share gains are positive.
We need to understand that clients are going through changes as well, from tech to Covid-19 and a weak economy, the impact is great. This philosophy of placing the client first is not a new one but will be welcomed by advertisers who see media channels as partners not merely ad sales people.
We have undergone significant training and upskilling to equip our teams to understand client pain points; we need to know what keeps them up at night and how we fit into their world.
Our teams acknowledged change as a motivator and adapted rapidly, realising failure was not an option and client centricity was a powerful mechanism to engage and build strong relationships.
From the outset, the questions we ask advertisers were centred on the story behind their brands, how they wanted it told in order to engage audiences and create an impact.
We worked well towards reshaping thinking and creating a culture of achievement. We worked hard to ensure our client-facing staff is comfortable with the vision and approach we are taking with clients. While there have been some difficulties in meeting face-to-face, we are willing to accommodate this and remain determined to communicate and sell solutions – not just ads. At the end of the day, good sales teams shine through.
Multi-level marketing breaks through silos
In addition to putting clients first, sales people are equipped to deliver integrated, multi-level platform solutions and create a communication solution tailored to brand goals and targeting audiences that matter. The sales team has come alive to the potential of selling solutions across multiple platforms from print and television, through digital and content marketing, to providing insights.
We used to function in silos away from our brands and content, now our amazing sales arm feels involved and we can aim not to walk away from clients empty handed.
Collaboration and communication internally has an immediate impact on staff morale and management benefits from sharing ideas and seeing the benefit to the team and clients of integrated packages across platforms and brands.
To communicate the strides made internally, the Ads24 trade marketing team has a number of active communication channels aimed at advertisers; these include webinars, newsletters, data reports and mainstream and social media campaigns. They are in the process of introducing a brand makeover in support of the internal vision and sales strategy.
Competition remains active, however gaps in the market have been created with the closure of magazine and newspaper titles. We ask ourselves where these readers have gone; has this left gaps and what content we can give them that will create revenue opportunities?
Concerted personal effort, stable and well-known brands, rejuvenated sales and support teams and an array of platforms and brands to offer clients, has led to early signs of sales growth.
We are in a very good space and have handled lockdown and the internal changes very well. Our clients are excited to see the combination of impactful content creation and multi-platform media solutions come alive.
Tasmia Ismail is the General Manager: Commercial (News). During her 18 years at Media24, Ismail gained invaluable experience in driving sales and building successful revenue models for local newspapers. In addition she was a driving force behind the successful change in frequency of Die Burger Oos-Kaap. In her new role Ismail will be responsible for the commercial division of Media24: News and is excited about offering innovative solutions for clients.
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