After reading Digiday’s article on Akamai’s strategy of trading agency intro meetings for new pairs of Nike sneakers, I started wondering just how valuable a meeting is and whether or not launching these types of campaigns is in the best interest of all parties.
After selling digital media and ad tech in New York City, I am no stranger to vendor-sponsored happy hours, dinners or the occasional ball game. These events allow buyers and sellers to congregate outside office confines with “real talk” regarding business, and a setting to get to know the actual people beyond their titles and respective employers.
However, when gifting occurs simply to secure an introductory meeting, then I have to wonder: Is the vendor’s value proposition not strong enough on its own? Is the agency only finding bandwidth to meet when it’s worth it for them personally? Perhaps the agency representative is shoeless and new kicks will help them in getting to a meeting?
As a boot-strapped consultant, I don’t have the luxury of earning meetings by showing up with flashy $100-$200 sneakers. Maybe I am old school, but even in my former life as a sales rep, I would much rather not get a meeting after putting together thoughtful customized messaging that clearly outline the specific ways in which I could positively impact the business, then get on someone’s calendar by dangling a carrot. This approach can actually backfire because folks will take the bait for a meeting already knowing full well they will never work with the company — a wasteful use of resources for both parties.
In short, if a sales rep is not able to lock down a meeting with intelligent emails, phone calls and polished marketing collateral, then I’d wager it may not be a meeting worth scheduling in the first place, for either side. If a sales rep relies on the crutch of gifting in order to be seen by prospective clients then they may be in for a rude awakening.
As an agency or brand representative, time, resources, and critical business decisions should not be skewed by presents; at least over a cocktail, dinner, or Yankees game, you can talk shop and hopefully learn something new even if there isn’t a fit. Putting on fresh Nike’s may help your 5K time, but it won’t make you a better student of the game, unless you are indeed shoeless, in which case now you can make it to the office and that vendor meeting.
Seth Ulinski has held sales and business development roles with companies including AdSafe, DataXu, and Yahoo. He recently launched his own digital marketing consultancy after working in the NYC market for the past four years, selling digital media and ad tech to major agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
How newsroom unions intervene when members get laid off
Amid the recent wave of media layoffs, here are some of the ways newsroom unions are intervening.
Despite Q1’s slow start, publishers are bullish about events revenue for 2023
Publishers like BDG and Apartment Therapy are banking on events revenue to give them a leg up in 2023.
Media Briefing: The case for and against monthly and annual subscriptions in the battle for retention
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for improving retention in a subscriptions business. While annual subscribers might stick around longer for some, other publishers will have better luck with monthly plans.
SponsoredHow Rumpl and Replacements got creative with CTV ad production and media buys
Sponsored by MNTN This year, marketers are balancing multiple priorities, including the convergence of two trends: the growth of CTV advertising and economic uncertainty impacting ad budgets. To keep costs low while generating ROI, savvy brands are embracing innovative approaches to production and media buys. These tactics allow advertisers to continue reaching audiences on CTV […]
Digiday+ Research: The economy will hit the media and marketing industries this year, but differently
The economy will plague both the media and marketing industries in 2023, but the hit will be uneven between publishers and agencies.
Podcast ad buyers have yet to see a slowdown
Ad buyers have yet to see clients cut their podcast budgets – though the time of podcasts as the shiny new medium may be coming to an end.