Our resident sales guru, Paul Jacobs, sees the tide turning out there in Agency Land. Hey, men shop, too. Read on.
When I first became a general manager, my new boss told me something that always stuck with me:
“There are two types of people – those who let things happen and those who make things happen.”
He was right, and as I’ve worked with numerous radio station sales staffs over the years, I’ve found the same thing is true. Unfortunately, too many reps simply let things happen. They rely too heavily on ratings and avails, and not enough on aggressively developing a sales strategy designed to increase their station and audience’s worth and value.
Last fall, after listening to too many of our rock clients complain about the lack of agency buys targeting their core male listeners, I began to ask these stations how they intended to address this important issue.
For years, the perceived value of men has been declining in many advertiser minds. I was hearing numerous complaints from rock salespeople, promising they could generate more revenue if only their stations had more female listeners. Others simply focused on the low hanging fruit - beers and bars - and wondered why their revenue wasn't growing.
But no one seemed to have a strategy to effectively address this problem.
That’s why we created the “Marketing To Men” initiative, and it’s working.
The study has been covered in hundreds of publications across many different products, brands, and categories. We’ve received inquiries about the data from major agencies like Leo Burnett as well as trade associations for shopping malls, bedding, and other female-targeted categories.
We’re now hearing actual success stories from several clients who used the data to generate revenue from traditionally hard-to-close advertisers like local grocery stores. Or who used it to counter many of the myths about men and their shopping habits.
And now, there’s even more evidence that with a strategy, research, and elbow-grease, we can turn things around.
Old Navy has announced they are beginning to target men, who they describe as a “no-nonsense shopper you can’t reach on TV.”
And here’s the money line in a recent AdAge article that discussed the Old Navy strategy and their Senior VP/Marketing, Amy Curtis-McIntyre:
When it comes to clothing, it's often assumed that men rely on the women in their lives to shop for them, making women the key target for marketers. But Ms. Curtis-McIntyre said Old Navy's qualitative research shows that men are shopping for themselves and when they do, they tend to purchase in bulk, making them valuable customers.
The takeaway from the “Marketing To Men” initiative isn’t simply about trying to change a few hearts and minds. Instead, the lesson is that every sales entity needs to think strategically. Sitting back and waiting for a great book, a priority change at the agency level, or a competitor to change formats isn’t a plan – it’s a hope.
Programming departments think strategically. They have to. They conduct research; they put together an action plan. And then they go into action.
Now we know that sales can and should do the same thing. Poke the box. Initiate. Ship.
If you have a story about cracking the "man code" with an agency or advertiser, we want to hear about it. Please leave your comments below.