Keeping Up With Your Customers: Ad-Sales for Content Marketing

“One of the biggest problems of publishers and advertising sales staffs today is falling behind the customer.”   Leading advertisers are moving as fast as they can to keep up with the changing information habits of their customers.  But most publishers are more focused on selling what they have, the way it’s been sold in the past, than thinking about how to sell new services or sell advertising in new ways. So publishers and advertising sales executives are falling behind the perceived needs of their customers: the advertisers.

The quote I started off with isn’t really a quote, but a paraphrase of the opening of an article on by advertising agency guru Avi Dan on how Kimberly Clark is adapting and changing its marketing to keep up with, and communicate with, its own consumers. With its customers attention drawn away from traditional media, engaging them in social media, and on alternative platforms, requires new forms of communications material: native content.

Avi Dan photo

Avi Dan of Avidan Strategies, LLC

Clearly, you could take “Kimberly-Clark” out of the Forbes article and drop in almost any business-to-business or consumer brand marketer and you’d have a defined problem for marketers.  Not all companies are as proactive as Kimberly-Clark.  And many are acting with less enthusiasm as they step into the future.  But they are all concerned about making the most of the investment in marketing and understanding how their customers are changing the way they use media.

The media companies I talk with are having a hard time staying relevant to their own customers.  It is very hard for sales people to get sales appointments in part because advertising influencers and buyers at advertising clients and agencies are busy spending their time listening to pitches from new solution providers.

Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly-Clark, says Kimberly-Clark understands that native content must be created especially for each channel. That is a management problem. The economics of marketing in a digital world, if all content has to be native, could be prohibitive. “The single biggest thing that I got to solve, and which probably a lot of other people haven’t solved, is how you scale content in an economic way.”

There are three-fold challenges, observed Dan, of “transitioning a company’s marketing model in an age of vast proliferation of content…improving cycle time, because of the demands on the approval process; maintaining quality across all the various content forms and managing brands in an age in which marketers have less control over their brands.”

Are your advertising sales teams prepared and trained to provide solutions? As a publisher your company is expert at creating content.  There is an opening here for new revenue you can drive a truck through.  Do your sales people know how to drive the truck? Providing advertising sales training for complex, major-account selling tying in native content is the investment to make for today’s competitive media environment.


About Daniel M. Ambrose

Ambrose, launched, corp. in 1994 to provide sophisticated strategy consulting and advertising sales training to advertising-driven media clients in the U.S. and abroad. Starting with the founding of and iVillage in 1995, has worked with hundreds of clients to help accelerate advertising revenue growth.