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Media Reps - Angel or Devil of advertising?

It is reality for a business owner or marketing director...visits from media sale representatives! You are adorned with visits daily. Most "Reps" believe they have the one advertising vehicle that will elevate your business, crushing your competition. Whether you have faith in the product (mobile ads, radio, cable, online newspapers….) you should identify the person offering you their expertise. Which angel are they…the good or the evil?

Here are 3 questions to help clarity…

​ 1. How much do they know about your business? In today’s world there is no excuse for not conducting research before walking through your door! The internet allows anyone to visit your website, your social pages, your reviews on Yelp and Google. Do they know what you specialize in? What are your business hours? Who is most likely your competition? How many followers you have on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram? If a salesperson engages with you and has no knowledge of your business….Red Flag.

2. Do they know their OWN product? Sounds simple right? But you may have already learned this one yourself. For example: If they are a radio representative, are they familiar with ALL the stations their company offers? Do they know their competition? What are recent changes in the industry or their local product? Who are the demographics that are most likely to use their product? What qualitative outlines do they have for the target demo/customer? They are asking you to place your trust and money in their hands for a return on their investment. If the person sitting before you cannot answer questions about her own companies product, they have not been trained properly. This job falls to managers. One of the major flaws in the media industry is a drastic lack of failure to train. Having knowledge of their own product/industry are the basics! If they are not informed…Red Flag

3. Are they a media partner or just a salesperson? This is a big one, building trust! A media partner offer advertising outlines and suggestions while a salesperson believes ONLY their product is for you. Make no mistake, their job and livelihood depends on selling their product. But a true marketing partner is as interested in your business advertising success as much as their own financial gain. Based on your budget, no one media can be an advertising success for every business. Let me state that again….NO ONE media can be an advertising success for every business. Most local businesses that want to thrive and grow carve out a marketing/advertising budget. There are ways to use that budget to gain a good return on your investment. If a media “rep” believes that her medium, and her medium alone can solve all your marketing needs…Red Flag. In my sales days I would offer a comprehensive marketing plan for my clients that would most often (again, based on budget) include other media. A sure fire way to gauge the true nature of your media rep is to ask, “what other media do you feel would be of benefit to my business?”

As a business owner, you know your product, you shouldn't expect yourself to be a marketing guru. Learning to identify the good and bad representatives can save you money. Do not make decisions on whether you like them or not. Your marketing dollars must work for you. Ask yourself these 3 questions to gain insight to the motivation behind the rep. could hire an advertising agency and let them decide who is the angel and who is not!

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