Sales Management in the Media Industry

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2680 , Published on 21 November 2011

The media industry is one of the fastest growing and most promising industries in the world. Earlier, reaching out to people was limited as the mediums of media were limited. But with the rise of information technology, communicating value propositions of brands has become simpler. TV, radios, internet, OOH media, newspapers, magazines etc all form the backbone of the media industry, which help making the world a small place for advertisers and marketing executives to ensure that their brands prosper. The constant growth of the media industry, apart from high disposable incomes are certain factors like mentioned below:

  • Low media penetration in lower socio-economic classes (SEC)
  • Low ad spends
  • Liberalizing foreign investment regime

There are around 1lac advertisers in India which includes Print and Electronic media. Media sales executives must not only have spontaneous thinking on the media bus, they must also be creative and innovative.

The aim of media sales department is to maximize revenues. The long term goal of a media sales team is to get their fair share of advertising revenue. It is important to note that long term goal is to get a fair share and not an unfair share. A fair slightly more than the fair share goes unnoticed but if the organization gets greedy a get a major chunk of the advertising revenue the competitors can gang up against the offender.

The four main objectives of a media sales department is to

  • Achieving desired results for customers
  • Developing newer business opportunities
  • Retaining business and increasing customer base
  • Improving customer loyalty

There are strategies that guide the sales force about what approach they must adopt while managing sales. They should decide on certain factors such as whether to concentrate on agencies or direct business or similar factors like whether to sell for share or sell for rate approach.

Apart from the options , as mentioned above, that the sales force chooses from while making a selling it has to execute certain strategies like:-

  • Providing solutions to advertiser’s problems.
  • Support in creating value for the product.
  • Supplying the best services
  • Innovating

Different strategies are adopted by different media sales department. Media with a flexible supply such as newspapers, magazines, internet websites etc can add up supply (in the form of pages) when demand rises therefore sales department in such mediums encourage advertisers to buy more.

Compared to this media such as television, cable, radio etc cannot add supply as when demand increases. The three major media mediums are discussed here in brief:

Newspapers - Have to innovate in the form of new sections in the form of editorial content, new sections etc. Local newspapers have major competition from local cable TV, local radio etc.

Newspapers structure their rate card to encourage more advertisers to buy more space more often. This is because they can readily add up pages. Price negotiations happen over the favorable positions and the longest running advertising.

A method of selling low rated spots in mediums such as TV are bundling them together with high rated spots by discounting the high rated spots where you cannot buy one without the other. But this strategy is not applicable to newspapers where every single unit is sold according to the rate card and on its own merit.

Television - Demand pricing is found in case of television where the supply cannot be stretched to meet higher demand for highly desirable spots. TV networks sell majorly on the basis of price and not added value as they are selling a non-differentiated commodity.

(If every station adopted a strategy of selling for rate and tried to do what was the best for all stations and for the market, they would all come out ahead, as in the Prisoners’ Dilemma. On the other hand, the temptation is invariably too great for one station to do what is perceived in the short term to be in its best interests and will sell for share on each pending piece of business. But no station operates in a vacuum)

Internet – Internet is the new medium of advertising for all major players. With constant increase in the number of internet users globally, instant access through laptops or cellphones, accessibility at home or office, internet has become the most preferred way of promotions. From online shops like Ebay to purchasing movie tickets to planning holidays to banking, everything is there at the click of the mouse.

Media industry is one of most important customer facing industries, as with the help of newspapers, radio, TV, internet etc, organizations advertise and market themselves. Hence, a learning of sales in the media industry is critical.


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