Major brand marketers in sectors ranging from consumer packaged goods to automotives weighed in on what they're looking for from media sellers, and knowledge about an advertiser's brand and products came out on top.
Bucking a trend
"In most cases, that sort of bucks a trend," said Ken Pearl, CEO of Advertiser Perceptions. "Where most people will go in and say, 'Let me tell you about my media brand,' the clients are calling for [sellers] to understand their products and [convey] how the media brand is going to help achieve their goals."
So which sales reps earned the highest marks from marketers and agencies? USAToday.com, USA Network and Architectural Digest were rated as having top media sellers in online, TV and print. USA Network sellers also gained praise for knowledge and personality, while USAToday.com, Comedy Central and Domino were lauded for good customer service.
In addition to brand knowledge, media buyers and planners are also looking for good communication skills, professionalism and an understanding of marketers' needs and priorities.
The least important characteristics in a sales rep identified by marketers were sales presence and entertainment. Only 8% of respondents said going to dinners, shows and sporting events with sellers was important -- though Mr. Pearl warned survey respondents may have been reluctant to admit to that. "Most people probably aren't going to own up to the fact that they really love being entertained," he said.
Extra hustle for print reps
In the race for ad dollars, marketers said that that print reps are outworking their TV and online counterparts. Print reps were also rated the best at communicating the medium's value. But for all that hard work, marketers are still more likely to take a meeting with online sales reps than any other medium.
"Online is a sexier, hotter, media at this point," Mr. Pearl said. "The easiest route to the meeting is representing an online brand."