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Package Selling. Bob Newhart says; “STOP IT!”

If you’ve never seen this classic sketch it’s worth the six minutes. Bob Newhart’s message to his patient on her self-destructive behavior was simple; stop it! When it comes to selling cheap ad packages, we should heed the same advice; stop it!

For as long as I’ve been working in media, stations have churned out “packages” to help make goal. Usually, it’s that month’s goal and the scenario goes something like this:

1. The sales manager calls a meeting and announces how much is needed to make goal
2. He or she hands out a cheap spot package with a theme like “Winter Warmup”
3. Everyone is tasked to get on the phones and stay in the office until they’ve sold at least two
4. Salespeople call and email around town telling people to advertise because spots are cheap
5. Someone rings a bell each time a package is sold and they win a carwash gift card
6. Next month they get to do it all over again

Stop it! This kind of selling is a disaster. Yes, you can claim that you put much needed revenue on the books, but at what cost? This is commodity selling at its worst and most buyers, especially Millennials, can’t stand it. Package selling is what the station wants in an age when everything we do should be about creating value and advertising solutions for our clients.

Package peddling often leaves money on the table while at the same time doing a disservice to the client who didn’t get enough reach and frequency to generate results. For too many clients this is the genesis of their “I tried radio and it didn’t work” experience.

If you’re looking for a sales advantage in your market, be the ones who don’t push packages. A great example of this came in January of this year. In a small mid-Atlantic market, an HVAC client invited the local ad outlets in to pitch their wares. This mini cattle call had the newspaper, other radio stations and the cable company arrive with pre-produced packages in hand. My client’s group was the only one who didn’t decide ahead of time what the advertiser needed.

Instead, they did a little homework ahead of the call to understand the client’s business and current trends in the HVAC industry.  Then they asked great questions about the owner’s goals to grow his company over the next year.  All the while taking copious notes.

From that great first meeting, we were able to build and later present a custom, multi-platform campaign to run over 12 months that included radio, targeted display advertising, a website update and even a jingle.  And who do you think earned the client’s business?

All this being said, there are times, particularly with sports sponsorships, where you can incorporate certain “packages” into a client’s advertising mix.  (It’s probably a good time to re-up those Philadelphia Eagles packages!)  By all means keep doing that. But as for churning out short term, cheap spot packages? Stop it!

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