How Strong Relationships with Media Partners Benefit Your Business
Media partners and providers are integral to our work as an agency and our ability to meet your needs. But working with media partners is more than just a transactional exchange. It’s about building ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about respecting and understanding one another’s needs as well as the needs of those we represent. And above all else, it’s about the collaboration and integrated efforts of both parties to drive success for our clients.
Establishing Relationships with Media Partners
First and foremost, it is important to establish and maintain good relationships with media partners. Without these relationships, agencies would not be able to leverage, negotiate, and work together with key members of the advertising community. Creating strong relationships allows agencies to achieve an important degree of familiarity with their media partners. As such, agencies are able to more specifically understand and ask media partners about conventional and straightforward requests for some campaigns, and unconventional or unique requests for others. Here at Vovia, the term ‘Vendor’ is never used. Instead, we call them “partners”.
Benefits of Strong Relationships
Keeping in touch with these partners allows us to be informed of better inventory, such as special TV features or OOH boards that open up. If we need to make changes to a campaign past the deadline, a call to their senior person can often allow us to make changes with no penalties. Knowing the right people in the right situations allow us a better chance of getting a “yes” when asking for huge favours. Knowing our contacts and their whereabouts allows us to book things past the deadline (things have been known to be processed on a Sunday!).
Now that we understand the benefits, here are a few of my personal tips on how to develop relationships with media partners:
- More Than Just the Rep – In optimizing relationships with media partners, agencies not only work closely with their reps, but also establish close ties to support staff: coordinators, traffic teams, and accounts receivable teams. For example, sales coordinators can be saviors when print creative is running late. Traffic teams at TV stations can issue makegoods that will provide much more value than the original program it is replacing. Accounts receivable teams can save hours in reconciling invoices. It is important to establish a line not only to the rep, but also to work closely with the entire team.
- Negotiation is Key – Sales is often construed as selling at the highest rate, while a buyer’s job is to purchase for the lowest. These contrasting objectives can lead to a lively negotiation and rate variances of upwards of 25%. Interestingly, though a sales rep may be trying to sell at a high range, he or she does not always need to in order to be successful and you might be surprised at the discount levels that a rep may be able to offer. It is just as important for the media partner as it is for the agency that the media is both effective and good value, and you can use this to find common ground. The trick here is it’s not just about asking, but also about giving. In many scenarios, giving a little can help you receive a lot.
- Maintaining Open Lines of Communication – Constant communication with media partners is crucial. Reps have a job to do and keeping them in the dark does not foster trust and collaboration. Continuous communication helps ensure the campaign objectives are maintained and any plan changes are reflected in the proposal. Even if a media partner is not selected for a specific campaign, it is very important to notify them and explain the reasons. This way, that partner can refine their proposals in the future and better understand the needs of the client, which will sometimes get you a better deal or offer next time around. Media partners put in time, effort, and cost, just to pitch, which means that ongoing communication about the ins-and-outs of each campaign allows them to divert their resources accordingly.
- Understanding the Media Partner’s Capabilities – Knowing what the media partner can and cannot do will save time from the get-go. For example, TV broadcasters have high followings in their social media channels which they can lend to advertisers. Another example is that digital billboards have more capabilities than just rotating an antihistamine ad 24/7, but they can do so only when the pollen count is high. Having knowledge of the specific capabilities and strengths of a media partner allows agencies to resourcefully, effectively, and creatively meet their clients’ needs.
Help Them Help You!
At Vovia, it’s our job is to ensure that our clients’ money is invested wisely, and in order for us to do that well, we will continue to build and maintain strong relationships with our media partners and their staff. These relationships are founded on mutual respect and benefit everyone involved. Just remember, they’re not a Vendor! Media Partners are a key extension of your own team.
How do you build relationships with your partners? Feel free to drop some tips in the comments below!