By Veronica Ong, Sales Director Broadsign SEA
2023 will be a significant year for out-of-home advertising (OOH). This year we will see life seemingly going back to normal. People are out and about and international travel, including China, has fully resumed.
In the second half of 2022, we saw advertisers showing a renewed interest in OOH with advertising demand increasing, and the OOH industry looking to reclaim revenues lost during the pandemic.
While the worst of the storm has seemingly passed and media owners start to scale their business back to pre-pandemic levels racing to make up lost ground, it is equally important to make sure that the backbone of your company is capable of supporting your 2023 business’s growth ambitions.
The captain of the ship may have a clear direction of where it’s heading, but they must also ensure that the ship is still seaworthy after a major storm and the crew has the necessary tools and skillset to ride through new obstacles and challenges.
Many media owners have benefitted from the pivot to programmatic despite initial difficulties such as lack of audience data, no doubt accelerated by the pandemic. They overcame these difficulties by coming up with workarounds in the hopes of figuring things out as they go along, buying time.
This strategy seems to have succeeded, looking at the increasing number of inventory available programmatically. And then there are other challenges that appear, manual and cumbersome processes as a result of those “workarounds”.
Often, the operation tools we use let us down with no alternative solution. This may be manageable while demand for OOH is low, but now that requests are picking up, there’s an increased need to be able to deliver a larger number of campaigns in briefer windows. This can
cause your sales ops team to be overwhelmed and suffer from burnouts which in turn may affect your customers simply because you are unable to deliver a superior customer experience.
As we kickstart 2023, I would suggest media owners conduct a stress test of any current tools and processes. Here are some questions to ask:
How long does it take for your sales reps to respond to 10, 20 RFPs, all received at the same time, requiring urgent responses?
Can your sales reps customize and respond to RFPs effectively, or do all their media recommendations and proposals look the same?
Flexibility is now a must. No longer can media owners expect brands to book ahead of time and to abide by cancellation policies or campaign postponement penalties.
Ask yourself, how long does your sales ops team take to update availability and make changes to inventory site lists to keep up with ever-changing campaign briefs?
Is it easy for your sales managers to get an accurate overview of inventory occupancy levels, make forward projections and accommodate multiple last-minute bookings?
Survey – 80% of revenue from direct sales
According to IAB’s 2023 Outlook Survey, more than one third of buyers cite improving media efficiency as a top goal for 2023 media investments.
With talk of recession looming, marketing budgets are tighter than ever, and media budgets are being more carefully scrutinized to ensure that every dollar spent is effective.
While programmatic is a new growth pillar that all media owners are excited about, 80% of revenue is still brought in by direct sales teams; therefore it is still important for media owners to also ensure that their direct sales team continue to build valuable relationships with customers and deliver a superior experience.
In order to do so effectively, media owners need to equip their direct sales team with more flexible ways of selling OOH, accommodate buying patterns of new customers and be efficient enough to customize bespoke media proposals such as selling by impressions, by budget, by target audiences etc.
This will allow them to continue to have meaningful conversations with customers and stay ahead of the game.
You can, of course, wait until you see a real need or urgency to do so but given how fast your competition moves and how fearless the OOH competition is, media owners should ensure that they are not sacrificing long-term strategy for short-term gains, just like how they often tell their clients and their brands not to just focus on short-term campaign objectives, but to also continuously work on improving their brand activity and unique offering.
We know OOH is here to stay, and we also know when it comes to technology advancements there is no slowing down now. This year brings you the opportunity to reset and take your business to new heights.
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