Costumes, elaborate masks, feathers, beads, and indulgence. A date with Dennis Rodman? Not this time – it’s Mardi Gras!
This is the day of floats and fattening foods. Mardi Gras literally means “fat Tuesday,” in reference to the last night of eating fatty foods before the ritual fasting of Lent. It has come to provide a time of celebration and festivities, as well as providing a colorful theme for auto and furniture commercials between Valentine’s Day and Easter.
So what does Mardi Gras have to do with media sales, other than a theme for spots, a pancake breakfast at a clients’, and ducking out early to don some beads and raise a glass or two?
- Eat now and fast later. In other words, prepare. Media salespeople can use their CRM systems to prepare for leaner times by looking for accounts that were on last year, categories in which they are media experts, and top accounts that might grow by diversifying onto website or other stations. If you have a yield/rate card system, you can look ahead when preparing proposals, and avoid the fat rates times, giving your customers leaner rates and maximizing your station’s inventory. Prepare now for what you must do later.
- Let your clients win the baby in the King Cake. As the King Cake is sliced, everyone hopes they find the tiny token. The lucky winner proudly displays their find! That means they “get” to buy next year’s King Cake! Make your clients enjoy the buying experience, and be happy and proud with their win. Sharing common goals – finding the baby and fattening up for Mardi Gras, selling more products, and seeing a great ROI in media sales – is addictive. A little sugar in the cake goes a long way – a little sweetness in your dealings will, too.
- People love free stuff. Parade routes are lined with revelers who leap over each other for little stuffed animals and cheap colorful beads. Media outlets are filled with free stuff. We may be tired of the prize wheel and handing out mugs, key chains and t-shirts, but surely you have noticed at remotes and appearances how quickly they disappear. Hit up your promo department for some swag to give to your clients. It doesn’t always have to be lunch or tickets; it can be your station’s equivalent of gold and purple plastic beads.
- You don’t have to flash to get beads. There are plenty of people successfully walking away from the parades loaded with beads, coconuts and swag who were just focused, in the right place and a little aggressive. If you give your station away at lower rates, you may feel the immediate euphoria that Mardi Gras exhibitionists feel as they bare their breasts. But you lose pride in your station, set expectations for future buys, and may cause undo rate stress on your remaining commercial inventory.
- Make it fun! Mardi Gras is so exciting that people travel to the Big Easy just for the experience. Media is fun! We sometimes forget that, because they don’t call it “work” for nothing. But we have a lot to offer our clients – events, personalities, studios, cups and koozies, and the excitement of hearing and seeing their name on our airwaves. The Mardi Gras parade floats are all about the show. Don’t forget the show in media sales.
As they say during Mardi Gras, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Let the good times roll in media sales not just on this day, but every day. Let’s just feast, and skip the fasting this year, what do you say?
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services