don't be a media sales airline

Are you giving your customers a fair price for add-ons?
Pacific Southwest Airlines flight attendants. San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.

If you are flying this summer to enjoy a family vacation, you have probably shopped the airlines. You used to be able to weigh only a couple of factors before booking: what time do we get there and how much does it cost? But now you have to dig a little deeper to find the real cost.

This one charges for bags – that’s ok, we can just carry on. But this one charges to carry on! There are fees for early boarding, for changing your plans, for using your reward miles and for booking through an agent, for onboard wi-fi and for getting through security faster. You know the drill.

Air travelers have to spend more time price shopping (and perhaps adjusting their desired arrival time) and more time doing math gymnastics as they try to figure out which airline is really offering a good rate. This is resulting in more client dissatisfaction with the airlines. Perhaps most airlines have forgotten their vacation traveler’s goals as it becomes all about the “Benjamins.”

I wonder if we in media sales aren’t sometimes doing the same thing. The point to a family vacation fly-away is to get the group from point A to point B at a fair price so they can hit the beach or theme park as soon as possible. The point for a client when they buy advertising from us is to get more customers in the door at a fair price.

Sometimes we may forget the goal as we “package” all of our add- ons. Are we paying attention to their goal – getting more customers in the door, or ours – hitting our web goal, AUR goal, station goal, cooking show booth goal, and scoreboard presentation goal?

I am not opposed to “packaging” elements. In fact, that is the way I built promotion and sales initiative packages:  by incorporating the costs of all that was included to come up with the title sponsor, the presenting sponsor, etc. But when putting together several elements in media sales, pay attention to these factors:

  • Will it provide enough exposure for the client? Be sure there are enough prime time spots and good web placement, which provide enough reach and frequency, to get results, so that your client can really take off. If you have a good yield management system for pricing, you can build a great schedule that includes lower priced spots based on supply and demand.
  • Do the elements integrate well? Each element should make sense and provide synergy so your client will fly high. For example, a booth in the cooking show along with a web banner on your sports page may make sense to a client with very broad appeal, but in many cases this will fragment target demos.
  • Are you flexible with a customer who may not need all elements? If a customer is a major sponsor of your fringe programming, they may not need those fringe spots included in your package. Use a yield system to determine a fair price for spots and features they may need when they need them. Be sure you can adjust the package to fit their goals, and pilot them to success.
  • Is it a hot button for your client? Sometimes a client will buy a sales initiative because they want to play in the golf tournament, watch the game from the suite, or hang out with your talent! That is their choice, but make sure you make the advertising work for them so that you have a happy and repeat customer once their head is out of the clouds.
  • Are you able to offer this to existing clients who want to grow, as well as for attracting new business? Be sure your top customers are informed of a great opportunity. These are your Gold Club members, so treat them well. Use your CRM system to identify those customers, and use an e-marketing system to get the word out fast!

Too many fees for your clients while you aren’t helping  them effectively with their marketing and advertising needs could result in a crash landing when renewal time comes!

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