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Online Ad Sales: Publishers are Integrated, Buyers Not So Much

Are magazines ahead?


Henry Donahue By Henry Donahue
01/30/2008 -09:04 AM






Once upon a time (maybe 24-36 months ago), publishers struggled with how to integrate online advertising sales with their existing print efforts.  Hire a new sales person who knew his or her way around the Internets?  Retain an outside rep firm with a set of relationships in the online agency world?  Train your print reps to sell the site?

Two to three years later, most publishers have a team of in-house sales reps that can sell integrated packages.  Why is this so?

 1. Online sales know-how has to be one of your core strengths. You'd be foolish to outsource it.

2. There are no more online-only sales people because there are no more print-only sales people. Your average 28 year-old sales person consumes a ton of online media and wants to sell your brand's entire package. Asking them to sell only magazine ads is a non-starter.

3. Every RFP that comes in asks for an integrated proposal and, at this point, we're happy to provide one. We can provide print, online, video, events, whatever. You want ideas? Big-time publishers can deliver video of Beyonce caressing your product online, polybagged and on national TV.

At DISCOVER, we'd have to replace Beyonce with a sexy theoretical physicist, but you get my point.

I will even argue that publishers are ahead of advertising buyers in this respect.  Looking through our top 100 advertisers, 80-90% of the accounts have print and online media buying at the same agency.  When you go the meetings, though, you often see the two teams separately, the print buyer is still looking for online as a value-add, and the online buyer works on another floor or another city.

So, get with it, media buyers.  When a single planning team is evaluating the combo print-online-event-TV proposal (and paying for each of those elements), that's when advertising will truly be integrated.

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Henry Donahue By Henry Donahue -- Henry Donahue is the CEO of Discover Media LLC, the publisher of Discover magazine and Discovermagazine.com. Donahue was formerly CFO of Primedia's Lifestyles Magazine Group, a 30-plus magazine division, which included Soap Opera, Crafts, Boating, Equine and History titles.

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