I didn’t make up the phrase “Media with Benefits:” I heard it used by a media agency leader yesterday in a closed-door meeting I was hosting. (Since it was said in that context, I’ll let the originator stay anonymous or self-identify at their own discretion). It’s too rich a slogan not to seize and interpret here in The Drift. We can parse this phrase two different ways: both in terms of its intent and also through a broader existential interpretation that questions what a media seller really does for a living these days.
How It Was Originally Intended: From a media director’s point of view, it means “Yes, we’ll buy banners and pre-roll videos and push-downs and sponsorships from you, but we need you to add value. Give us insights, integration, creative support, special research. We can’t be seen as just buying placements anymore, and you can no longer afford to simply be a source for those placements.” If this post stopped here, it would have been a good and valuable read. This is the minimum that a media sales professional should be doing in the market today. Your job is to create value; you’ll just be getting compensated in media dollars.
The Larger Concept: The deeper, existential translation of “Media With Benefits” challenges the very nature of how the seller and the media sales organisation see their place in the world. The system for precisely distributing outbound advertising messages across the infinite supply of online “inventory” is fully in place, and that market is commoditized now and forever. If you’re selling “holes in pages” today, the best you can hope for is increasing “yield” while reducing friction and cost. (Newsflash: Google and Facebook have a pretty good head start on you.)
Hope is not lost, however. The answer for today’s media seller is to raise your aim, not lower it. Focus on (1) accomplishing marketing tasks, (2) creating compact, distributable marketing environments, and (3) doing it all by co-opting the same ad pipeline that’s about to commoditize and marginalize you. In short, start pushing better stuff through the pipes. Bring the marketer fresh creative concepts, research opportunities, information services, CRM options — you name it –and plan ways to distribute and fulfil them through the ridiculously intricate ecosystem of plumbing, networks and platforms we’ve built.
Marketers don’t need more media in which to advertise. Start leveraging our infrastructure to deliver true marketing benefits and you’ll find yourself happily back in the game. Want to talk about some examples? Give me a call.
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