I often find writing to be very liberating, especially when I'm filled with frustration over small issues that occur over and over again. In our line of work, we spend a large amount of our day interacting with media account executives for radio, TV, cable, broadcast, digital, and print. If there can be a message put anywhere and sold, someone will sell it and it’s up to us to work with these folks so that our clients get the most bang for their buck. This arrangement should be and has been a win-win for everyone except that what we’re finding lately is a complete lack of enthusiasm for the business. With only a few exceptions, the only time we’re hearing from account reps is when they know there is money on the table. What used to be a beautiful symbiotic relationship has turned into what feels like a bunch of raccoons digging and scrounging for whatever scraps they can get. In response, we thought we would put up a list of do's and don’ts when working with a media firm:
Do introduce yourself with a phone call when you've either taken over an account or been assigned an account. It makes the transition all around much easier.
Do return an email or phone call when we let you know that we followed up on the card/media kit/sponsorship you left with a client. Not doing so leaves the impression of not really giving a damn.
Don't give us the cattle prod. We gave you our reasons for not using the media property. We are never going to tell you share, or budget, even if your management says you must get it. Have your manager call us. We'll tell them the same story.
Do make yourself known to an out of town client of ours. If we aren't there, the connection seems immediately stronger if the client knows we’re dealing with someone local. There is one caveat to remember…let’s us know ahead of time that you’re going in to introduce yourself. Otherwise, it seems like a go around.
Don't ever go around us to get to a client. No matter how you spin it, it’s wrong and you know it. Respect the relationship and we'll include you.
Do reach out more than once a quarter. An email, a text, or a quick call goes a long way. There are many account executives that we only hear from at the end of every quarter. Unfortunately we’ve found that those individuals are the least creative individuals we know. They seem to be the ones that are just there for the order and have no real interest in the company we are trying to serve.
Do resolve billing and make good issues promptly.
Don't bash the competition while we are speaking. Figure out a way to state your case on its own without bashing another media outlet.
Do learn a little bit about other media. If you are selling radio, learn about TV. If you sell TV, research mobile. There is no need to become an expert but it will be helpful to you and your clients to know a little. The internet has a vast amount of resources. Use them. If you want to find it all in one place, take a look at our book, “Your Ad Here: De-mystifying the Business of Media and Advertising”. It’s a short, conversational, easy to understand breakdown of each type of media and how it works.
Do find it within yourself to help us with no guarantee of return. Often times we need a quick piece of research or some insight for a project. There may not be a buy associated with it. Help us out and we won't forget who are friends are.
Don't start the conversation with the question: 'What is their budget'? We won't give you an answer. If you take the time to understand what the client’s challenge is, that builds trust. With trust comes a willingness to share.
Don't take it personally if we don't want to meet for lunch or coffee. And don’t hound us with a call followed by a text followed by an email. We have our reasons for not wanting or needing to meet and usually it’s because we’re busy serving our clients.
People like to do business with people they trust. Make yourself an invaluable asset, not an ass.