Be­com­ing an ef­fec­tive out­door ad­ver­tis­ing sales­man

Sell­ing OOH ser­vices re­quires deep knowl­edge of the ad­ver­tis­ing con­cept of DOG (de­mog­ra­phy, ori­en­ta­tion and ge­og­ra­phy), which the Out­door Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica refers to as the ad­ver­tiser's best friend.

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - By Akachi Ngwu

As an out-of-home (OOH) ad­ver­tis­ing prac­ti­tioner for sev­eral years, I have done my work with ut­most pro­fes­sion­al­ism and had the op­por­tu­nity to man­age a good num­ber of in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal clien­tele. Over the years, I have wit­nessed a lot of trans­for­ma­tion in the in­dus­try, no­tably since the turn of the 21st cen­tury. The trans­for­ma­tion has made it im­per­a­tive for the out­door ad­ver­tis­ing sales­man to re­think his ap­proach. (Sales­man is used gener­i­cally in this ar­ti­cle to re­fer to both male and fe­male prac­ti­tion­ers.)

Alvin Tof­fler, Amer­i­can so­ci­ol­o­gist, writer and fu­tur­ist, wrote: “The il­lit­er­ate of the 21st cen­tury will not be those who can­not read and write, but those who can­not learn, un­learn, and re­learn.” Tof­fler's provoca­tive com­ment is, nev­er­the­less, preg­nant with some im­por­tant lessons. The 21st cen­tury econ­omy is a knowl­edge econ­omy driven by tech­nol­ogy, com­pe­tence, per­sonal de­vel­op­ment, net­work­ing, cus­tomer en­gage­ment, and ser­vice de­liv­ery. It, there­fore, be­hooves any OOH ad­ver­tis­ing prac­ti­tioner to con­stantly learn new strate­gies, un­learn the tired and in­ef­fec­tive ones and keep re­learn­ing.

Even if you are not a pro­fes­sional in the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, con­sider the cur­rent eco­nomic down­turn in Nige­ria and try to imag­ine what the im­pact has been on uti­liza­tion of OOH cam­paigns. High in­fla­tion has re­duced pur­chas­ing power of con­sumers. Job losses, de­layed pay­ment of wages and non-pay­ment of con­trac­tors have com­bined to di­min­ish dis­pos­able in­come and cut con­sumer spend­ing. There­fore, this is not the time for sup­pli­ers to dis­cuss rates. This down­turn calls for far more ef­fec­tive

In mar­ket­ing, cus­tomer life­time value helps to pre­dict the value a busi­ness will de­rive from its en­tire re­la­tion­ship with a cus­tomer.

sales­man­ship. The OOH pro­fes­sional needs to cre­ate so­lu­tions to reach his client's tar­get au­di­ence and achieve their cam­paign ob­jec­tives.

While out­door ad­ver­tis­ing en­tails above-the-line mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, which are fo­cused on the mass au­di­ence for the pur­pose of brand aware­ness and re­call, strate­gic sales­man­ship is re­quired to op­ti­mize OOH mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels un­der the cur­rent eco­nomic cir­cum­stances more than ever.

Sell­ing OOH ser­vices re­quires deep knowl­edge of the ad­ver­tis­ing con­cept of DOG (de­mog­ra­phy, ori­en­ta­tion and ge­og­ra­phy), which the Out­door Ad­ver­tis­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica refers to as the ad­ver­tiser's best friend. A good knowl­edge of the DOG prin­ci­ple fa­cil­i­tates de­ci­sions on match­ing site lo­ca­tions with con­sumers, us­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate OOH plat­forms, among oth­ers. It is per­ti­nent that the as­tute OOH sales­man un­der­stands the im­por­tance of DOG in the con­text of out­door site plan­ning so as to ap­pro­pri­ately tar­get the right mix of ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns. For in­stance, a bill­board for a lux­ury brand would be mis­tar­geted if placed along a thor­ough­fare lead­ing to a low-in­come part of town.

The right po­si­tion­ing for the client, com­bined with dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion brought about by good ser­vice de­liv­ery met­rics such as site man­age­ment, pre-cam­paign and post-cam­paign re­port­ing, and good eth­i­cal prac­tices are qual­i­ties of a pro­fes­sional sales­man. The eth­i­cal con­duct of the sales­man must be above­board. Some of the eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions for the sales­man should in­clude pro­vid­ing ver­i­fi­able proof of per­for­mance, timely place­ment of client's cam­paign, rou­tine up­dates to client through­out the du­ra­tion of cam­paign, and trans­par­ent billing of the client.

The trans­for­ma­tion in out-of-home ad­ver­tis­ing has made the in­dus­try more com­pet­i­tive than it used to be. There are myr­iad plat­forms and in­no­va­tions that are avail­able, and mak­ing de­ci­sions on which plat­forms and providers to use is

of­ten not easy. There are also reg­u­la­tory is­sues to con­tend with. A good sales­man is, there­fore, one that shows deep un­der­stand­ing of the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment as well as the emerg­ing tech­no­log­i­cal trends that are en­hanc­ing OOH ad­ver­tis­ing. Most clients would pre­fer to com­mit their busi­nesses to the sales­man with strong un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion value chain.

Com­pe­tence is needed to achieve suc­cess in a crowded mar­ket­place such as out­door ad­ver­tis­ing. The com­pe­tent OOH sales­man is en­trusted with client ser­vic­ing, pro­posal de­vel­op­ment, op­er­a­tions and ac­counts man­age­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The sales­man should also be able to play an ad­vi­sory role con­cern­ing bud­get al­lo­ca­tions. All this re­quires con­tin­u­ous per­sonal de­vel­op­ment by learn­ing new trends in and out­side the in­dus­try.

Gain­ing the loy­alty of the client is also a met­ric for judg­ing the achieve­ment of the sales­man. Strate­gic ini­tia­tives, such as in­cen­tives and bonuses, can be de­signed to sup­port the client's mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion goals. Some in­cen­tive schemes could in­clude of­fer­ing ex­tended time­lines be­yond the con­trac­tual pe­riod for the cam­paign. In­cen­tives could also come in the form of of­fer­ing ad­di­tional lo­ca­tions at no cost to the client so as to en­hance cus­tomer life­time value (CLTV). In mar­ket­ing, cus­tomer life­time value helps to pre­dict the value a busi­ness will de­rive from its en­tire re­la­tion­ship with a cus­tomer. In other words, CLTV is the dol­lar value of a cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship. The con­cept of CLTV en­cour­ages com­pa­nies to shift from fix­at­ing on the min­i­mum cost of ac­quir­ing cus­tomers to the long-term value of the cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship.

While de­vel­op­ing the client base for my or­ga­ni­za­tion, we in­tro­duced some in­cen­tive schemes to at­tract pa­tron­age. The scheme was tai­lored to of­fer bonus cam­paign op­por­tu­ni­ties for brands across all the re­tail lo­ca­tions that had our LCD ad­ver­tis­ing screens. The scheme paid off and we were able to re­cruit a multi­na­tional brand, which be­came one of the early adopters of our OOH ser­vices. Strate­gic out­door ad­ver­tis­ing sales­man­ship re­quires eval­u­a­tion of the mar­ket and de­sign­ing schemes to at­tract and re­tain client's pa­tron­age.

Sell­ing out­door ad­ver­tis­ing to clients is a busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2) ac­tiv­ity, which nec­es­sar­ily re­quires con­sid­er­able net­work­ing. A sales­man worth his salt de­vel­ops a net­work across the in­dus­try, build­ing re­la­tion­ships with me­dia agen­cies, con­tem­po­raries and clients – past, present and prospec­tive.

Stake­hold­ers such as Ad­ver­tis­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria, Me­dia In­de­pen­dents As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria, As­so­ci­a­tion of Ad­ver­tis­ing Agen­cies of Nige­ria and Ad­ver­tis­ing Prac­ti­tion­ers Coun­cil of Nige­ria should also be strate­gi­cally tar­geted to be in the net­work of the far-sighted sales­man.

Akachi Ngwu

A va­cant bill­board

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