We all know the local media world has been, and is continuing to be, rocked by disruptive technology.
Less than 20 years ago the prevailing media mix for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) included local newspaper, yellow pages, maybe direct mail, and if their budgets were substantial, perhaps radio, television or outdoor.
SMB owners were visited by two to three advertising reps throughout the year that placed their ads so that their phones would ring or customers would come through their doors. To borrow lyrics from a Carly Simon song, "It was so easy then."
And then came the rise of the internet and with that a blistering pace of local media fragmentation that is accelerating today with the social media explosion, smartphone penetration, and the world of "i-everything."
SMBs can no longer count on a simple program that virtually takes care of itself with little intervention from them or their sales reps to market their business.
Hundreds of Media Choices
According to a research report published by Borrell Associates, SMB owners are approached by 20-25 different media sales reps each month. And many of these choices require continual monitoring, measuring, and optimizing to achieve maximum value.
To help navigate through this complex and dynamic local media landscape, SMB owners are looking for knowledgeable and trust worthy media advisors who can construct and manage marketing programs that impact their business, not the media sales rep of yesteryear.
After all, how is it even possible for a local landscaper to stay abreast of the algorithm changes at Google, or the keywords their competitors are buying, or what content to publish to keep their Facebook Fanpage dynamic, tweet to their followers and still concentrate on the quality of service their customers expect?
A Different Conversation
To achieve trusted advisor status, media reps must engage their clients in very different conversations than those of the past. No longer can they simply recite the features and benefits of their solutions hoping the client will see the impact and therefore make a decision to buy.
The new conversations must be business discussions focused on the client's business vision, goals, plans, processes, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Reps must also understand how the client will measure success and their criteria for choosing one media option over another.
Only when they have this strategic client information will they be able to demonstrate the impact their media solutions will have on the clients productivity, image, expenses, revenue or stability, and differentiate themselves from all other media providers.
The Benefits of Trusted Media Advisor Status
The benefits to achieving trusted media advisor status are measurable, and will positively impact client churn, AVOs, and sales rep turnover.
The world of local media has become far too complex to rely on old selling styles. Those media companies that transition their selling style from features and benefits to client impact selling will be in the best position to take advantage of the exciting opportunities occurring each day in the local media world for both their clients and themselves.