8 Ways Media Sales Reps Can Increase Print’s Value in an RFP
(Editor's Note: Although this post is directed toward salespeople employed at magazine publishing companies, it contains several relevant takeaways for sales reps who work at printing companies.)
Remember back in the good old days, say, about 2015, when ad agencies had separate media-buying teams for print and digital?
That made it easy for the sales team to specialize. The old codgers sold print, while the “kids” sold digital.
But the world is no longer so simple. From what I see, based especially on advertisers’ requests for proposals and colleagues requesting help from this old print dinosaur, the trend is definitely toward integrated, multimedia ad buys. Increasingly, sales reps who were hired for their digital chops are being asked to submit proposals that include a print element.
Let's review some of the key ways salespeople can earn more print dollars in their multimedia RFPs. (These could also be useful to the many codgers who, in my opinion, haven’t fully transitioned to selling print in an age of hyper-targeting.)
What’s in Your Print Quiver?
I’m talking about the noun - what you store your arrows in. Your digital quiver includes homepage takeovers, keyword targeting, native advertising, and other weapons that you deploy based on an advertisers’ needs.
Likewise, make sure you know what your title can offer in print beyond standard ROP (run of press or “normal pages”). magazine pages. For example, what kind of inserts has your magazine previously sold or proposed? Are any special sections planned? Does the magazine have different versions or are you able to create a custom version for an advertiser? What are your options for controlled circulation? Are there print options beyond the magazine itself, such as live-event programs?
To help the advertising team select the best arrows, a publisher should provide resources --whether in-house experts, someone at the printer, a list of capabilities with pricing guidelines, or a look book of examples.
1. Data-Driven Print
If the web portion of your proposal talks about using first-party data, keywords, and programmatic targeting to reach the best prospects, it probably doesn’t make sense for the print portion to propose only ROP ads. The entire RFP should demonstrate that you understand what the advertiser is trying to achieve and that you’ll work creatively to get good prospects to engage with their message, regardless of the medium. One good example is the use of variable data printing, which enables advertisers to personalize their messaging on ROP ads, inserts, and wraps. (It’s worth brushing up on how print can be made more effective when tied to data.)
2. Printed Samples
This is an obvious, but often overlooked, way to get a prospect to engage with your brand. In your sales kit, include not just copies of the magazine but also examples of relevant inserts and other special print capabilities you offer.
Not all copies of a magazine have to be identical. Some magazines have advertising sections that run only in certain regions or are sent to select subscribers. A custom version can be created for an advertiser willing to spend a high CPM to reach a particular audience.
4. Controlled Circulation
There’s no law saying that all copies must be mailed to subscribers or offered for sale via the “newsstand” (magazine retail) system. Publishers often send copies to VIPs, advertisers’ most coveted prospects, events, and public places to boost a title’s audience and to meet advertisers’ needs.
5. Public-Place Copies
These are a type of controlled-circulation copy that are sent to hair salons, hotel lobbies, auto-repair shops, and other locations where they are likely to be seen by many people. They can boost a magazine’s audience in a particular region or with a particular demographic. And they can provide an effective vehicle for highly visible and targeted campaigns -- such as a sponsored cover wrap about laser eye surgery on copies sent to ophthalmologists’ waiting rooms.
This can be a maddeningly imprecise term, but basically it’s anything inside the magazine that’s not ROP. It can be a bind-in card, a section that’s only included in select copies (based on geography or demographics, for example), a gatefold, or something that’s printed on different paper or smaller page size than the ROP pages. Inserts provide a way for an advertiser’s message to stand out or to be targeted to specific types of readers. But they cost more – often a lot more – per copy than ROP pages.
7. Sponsored Cover Wrap
Usually consisting of four pages, this is a piece that wraps around the front and back covers. Coupled with a carefully selected controlled-circulation list, it’s a proven high-visibility vehicle for getting the sponsor’s message in front of the best prospects. If there’s a gap in the targeting you’re able to offer in the digital portion of your proposal, a version with a targeted cover wrap can be a great way to plug it.
8. Advertorial (AKA Native Ads)
“Advertorial” is an old-school magazine term for sponsored content. If your digital proposal includes native advertising, for God’s sake give the sponsor the option of running a print version as well. And you can use data from their digital native ads to determine what to run in print for the most impact.