Nearly 90% of local media sales managers are expecting increases in advertising revenue for 2013 compared to last year, according to the newly released 2013 AdMall Local Advertising Sales Forecast. 23% of local media sales managers expect increases in excess of 10%. Only 5.9% are projecting revenue declines, while 4.8% expect advertising sales to be flat.
The AdMall report reveals digital and mobile advertising are expected to be key drivers of this growth. More than 7 of 10 account execs that sell traditional media like newspaper, television or radio now also sell some form of digital advertising. The number of local media salespeople that sell search engine marketing, for example, is up 68.4% from last year and 28.5% from six months ago. Email marketing, mobile advertising and online video are also increasing in popularity among local media companies.
“The expanding number of digital product offerings, many at lower price points than traditional advertising, means effective time management is critical for today’s media sales teams,” says C. Lee Smith, president/CEO of Sales Development Services. “Achieving growth from online and mobile is contingent upon a refocused go-to market strategy, more efficient sales processes and multi-dimensional training,” Smith adds.
Nearly 70% of media sales managers say that health care will be the hottest advertising category in 2013. The other main sectors of anticipated revenue growth in 2013 are expected to be retail, restaurants and automotive.
Account executives rank competition from other local media (58.9%) and overcoming advertiser churn (50.6%) as their biggest challenges to growing sales in 2013. This reveals the difficulty of trying to bring in enough new business to compensate for revenue declines and lost accounts. These two concerns also rank among the top challenges for sales managers.
“Growing competition and audience fragmentation have made it more difficult to maintain an advertiser base,” says Barry Shawgo, vice president of sales and marketing for AdMall. “Media outlets in some markets have already crossed the line where it’s not possible to sell enough new advertising to offset advertiser churn. We see this as an alarming trend that media companies must address quickly,” Shawgo says.
88% of small business owners surveyed in November 2012 by AdMall’s sister firm, Ad-ology Research agreed or strongly agreed with the belief “if you don’t know my business, you can’t know which advertising is right for my business.”
When it comes to the attributes these local advertisers want most in their media rep, “knows my company/line of business” continues to rank first – noted by more than two-thirds of advertisers. More than 45% listed “knows my customers” as an important trait in a media salesperson.
“Now more than ever in today’s competitive sales environment, media account representatives need to be communicating in a consultative manner to their advertisers,” Smith says. “Media proposals must always focus on solutions that are relevant to advertiser and impactful to their customers, rather than pushing a particular product.”
This year, 34.2% of media sales reps report using an iPad or other touchscreen tablet in the field, which is more than twice the number who said they used tablets a year ago.