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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Unsexy Side of Selling Digital Advertising

selling digitalNo question, some amazing online and cross platform campaigns have been produced this year. One of my personal favorites is Intel's Museum of Me. When I see these robust, multimedia campaigns come to life on my iPad, iPhone, or PC screen I am quick to post, Tweet and email links to friends and coworkers who will think it equally as cool. Because after all, when done right, it's another form of entertainment! With all that sizzle online creative can deliver, how much goes into building, designing and implementing such cool ideas?

Most sellers don't go down this road of discovery because… well… it's not sexy! The idea is what's sexy. The creative is what's sexy! How it came to be is fairly unsexy in many sellers' minds. However, today's graduating marketers are better versed in the technology that enables digital advertising and they DO find it sexy because the technology is equally as important as the idea in the mind of the marketer.

I'm not saying go get a new college degree but if you become just a little more tech-savvy, marketers will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. Here are a few areas I recommend you explore:


Data is more abundant that ever. Facebook and Nielsen's new online rating system (OCR) is just one example of how emerging technology allows us to better understand, measure and track performance online. Collecting data, reporting data and using data are essentials of many campaigns. Know how your company does all three and what opportunities may be available using opt-in data your audience provides.

Creative Design and Implementation…

You may not feel the need to know how URL paths, specified in an XML file, can bring a microsite to life in a rich media ad, but you do need to understand the time it takes to develop a really cool, sexy idea and bring it to life online. When developing creative for your proposed marketing solutions, make sure you have an expert in design or development on hand to confirm whether or not what you want to produce is doable with the timing you propose and investment your client has committed to.

Development and Programming…

Programming web pages and apps requires code.  You don't necessarily need to master how to write this code but you do need to recognize how complex building out landing pages or microsites can be. This influences the overall investment and time to complete as well. Web development usually refers to all the non-design aspects of building websites and apps. Web development can range from developing a landing page with fields for user generated content to the most complex web-based services such as online banking or social networking. Code or markup is pretty complex if you're not a developer. To see how much goes into it, go to any web page and right click "view source." What you see is the code I'm talking about.

As a seller, if you're eager for a deep dive in tech talk,  a couple of sites to explore are TechCrunch and Smashing Magazine, but the easiest way to learn more is to just talk to web guys and gals at your office about your client's goals and use their expertise to help build your solution.

As a manager, your team may actually enjoy the challenge of learning what is behind the curtain for digital campaigns. In a recent paper written by The Center for Sales Strategy's VP of Talent Services, Beth Sunshine, learning about all aspects of a business is important to Millennials and it certainly can't hurt for other generations to learn, too.


Kim Willoughby is a Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: Digital selling digital advertising integrated media solution