By Tony Silber
There’s long been a comfortable rhythm in media-industry business cycles. But it all really revolves around this time of year, generally late August through the end of September.
For media operators, it’s about strategic planning. In my experience, that meant that business unit leaders would finalize their pacing for the year. Even more important, they’d budget for next year. They make their case for new initiatives, products, technologies and talent, all of which would come together after the turn of the year.
Very often, at least in days gone by, media companies would gather of their business-side teams, along with some key content producers, for an off-site, usually a couple of days in a hotel. The agenda would be a mix of sessions, case studies, team-building, awards recognition, esprit and planning.
On the planning side, sales teams would review their books of active business, build prospect lists, and do their budgeting, taking the top-line numbers down to the account-by-account level.
And so, when late August turned to September and Labor Day had come and gone, sales teams would hit the road and make things happen.
All of this still occurs, but probably not with as much fanfare and precision. Advertising has changed. Annual planning is still around, but perhaps not as prevalent. Marketers have changed. Their planning is built around a broader array of channels—ROI focused, lead-gen-focused, search, in-house communications. Media is part of the mix, but sometimes the buy is limited to campaign of months, not the full year.
Still, sales trips are ubiquitous, and media salespeople burn the midnight oil preparing for high-stakes sales calls and writing proposals.
Selling is exhilarating, for sure, but that September-through-mid-December period is a high-pressure time in media sales. You go into the chute in late summer and don’t really come out till a week or so before Christmas.
That’s selling season, and it’s just about to start. To all you sellers—and all you marketers—here’s to big success in 2023.
One P.S.: Selling is always about bringing ideas to clients. Even if you miss out during budget season, customers will always create new budget if you bring them a good-enough idea.