Another key ingredient of your campaign is the person you will be working with at the radio or TV station. Make sure the person you are working with has your best interest at heart and is a great problem solver. Your account executive, or AE as we’ll call him or her, should provide solutions to your marketing problems, not create more problems for you.
A good account executive is reliable, meets deadlines, is creative, knows about your business, knows industry trends, will get you the information you need about their station and audience, and is a great problem solver.
Your AE will be your guide down the path of purchasing and producing a commercial for your radio or television debut, so you want to make sure you’re confident in the AE’s ability.
Realize that your AE will make a commission off everything she/he sells you, so scrutinize every proposal closely to make sure it’s what you want and need. Just like any industry, there are reputable people and some who are not. If you determine you’re not happy with your AE, for whatever reason, as the client you have the option to call the sales manager and request to work with someone else. Don’t exclude a TV or radio station from your marketing campaign just because you don’t trust your AE.
How can you get the best AE? When you call the radio or TV station, ask for the sales manager. Tell the sales manager you are interested in buying some radio/TV advertising, and need them to recommend an AE who is experienced, reliable, creative, has marketing expertise and a track record of delivering results for direct advertisers (a direct advertiser is one who works directly with a station, with no advertising agency). Ask, “Who do you have on your staff that best fits that description?”
If you don’t do this, you are playing a game of chance, and may get stuck with the next AE in rotation on the “call-in” list. Often times, that’s the newest person on the job.
Being new isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes newer AE’s are hungrier for business than the seasoned AE’s, and may go the extra mile for you. Just make sure the sales manager is there to assist them and guides them through process.
A good AE should:
-Return your calls promptly (within 2-3 hours).
-Spend more time asking you questions about your business than they do talking about their station.
-Focus on getting you a good return on your investment on advertising expenditures.
-Check in periodically to see how business is doing after your commercial schedule has started. Show concern, and make changes if necessary.
-Provide you with ideas, promotions and partnerships.
-Keep you informed on what’s going on with their station and the new opportunities available. Many of us are suspicious of sales people. The image of Les, the slick radio ad salesman from the TV show WKRP In Cincinnati comes to mind. If you’re not sure how to buy radio or TV airtime, the process can be confusing and intimidating. It’s easy to feel like you’re being taken advantage of. AE’s are sales people and they work on a commission basis. Most of them want your advertising to be successful because they make more money if you continue to advertise with them.
Not all radio and TV sales people are just out to make a buck. Like in most professions, some are. But there are quite a few sales people, or Account Executives, who take pride in their profession and are trained to help businesses get results with advertising
If you have a good AE, you’ll want to take full advantage of their experience, skills and desire to do a good job for you. The best way to do that is to provide them with information. Let them know about areas in your business you want to improve, the challenges you are facing, industry trends, goals and expectations, and provide them with honest feedback so they’ll have an opportunity to make adjustments. A great AE can be a marketing partner for you and provide you with industry information, research and trends. If you find that rare individual or two, reward them with a larger share of your budget.