Cross-media sales take center stage at ABM show

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As cross-media sales continue to grow, business publishers must come up with more effective ways to distribute integrated media packages without diluting their brands, said a panel of advertising buyers and sellers at last week’s American Business Media spring meeting.

Panelists discussed the findings of BtoB’s cross-media advertising packages study, which was published in the April 30 issue of BtoB. The research was co-sponsored by BtoB and American Business Media.

The panel said that cross-media sales are becoming an increasingly critical vehicle to go to market. But as John Kahan, VP- integrated marketing communications for IBM Corp., put it, “The goal now is to turn integrated media from an art to a science.”

Panelists on both sides of the sales equation said despite the ongoing scramble to craft integrated media plans, publishers have to be careful they’re not giving the brand short shrift in favor of the overall sale.

“The problem is protecting the brand,” said Wenda Harris Millard, the Internet division president at Ziff Davis Media Inc. “You can’t allow [cross-media sales] to fragment the customer.” Kahan added: “How well is the brand being perceived in the marketplace? You need both pre- and post-strategies to determine how the audience is responding to cross-media selling.”

One consensus that emerged from the panel is that b-to-b publishing companies must not let cross-media sales slide down the slippery slope of discounting.

Down with discounts

“It’s critical for us as sellers not to view these things as giveaways or discounts,” said Rex Hammond, chairman of Hammond Publishing. “Cross-media sales are designed to show the client that each medium, while unique, could be marketed more effectively as part of an integrated media package.”

On the other hand, the panelists said price shouldn’t dictate the cross-media sale. “Price is not the issue,” Kahan said. “It’s speed and how to surround the customer with the marketing message.”

John Keck, senior VP-global and interactive media director at ad agency FCB Worldwide, said more of his clients are demanding cross-media plans, “but you need to take money out of the equation.”

A recent study conducted by Fairfield Research Inc. found that the integrated use of Web-based advertising and print advertising together generates significantly more sales than does each separate medium by itself. Indeed, the study showed that the average reader of both Web and print media spent 56% more after seeing media advertising, compared with consumers of one media.

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