In the heat of August, a neighborhood lemonade stand is making money hand over fist. Across the street, a young entrepreneur sets up with paper sacks of salty, buttery popcorn. This is marketing strategy: Analyze the market, think critically about the hole that nobody is servicing, and meet that need.

More media sellers need to bring this kind of thinking to their advertising clients. In today’s increasingly competitive media landscape, straight-up selling just isn’t going to cut it. Advertisers look to media sellers for true partnership. You’re in a position to bring original ideas born of your experience in the market.

Here we’re breaking down a couple of strategies that not enough media sellers and brands are embracing.


Challenger Strategy

Not all advertisers are the biggest brands. Not all advertisers lead in their category. Way more advertisers sit in the middle ground of brand recognition – and this is where your holy grail is. Because the challenger brands will be much more willing to take some risks to increase their brand exposure, and more willing to entertain a bigger budget in order to take on the leader. Building media strategy specifically around challengers could become a key differentiator for the right media seller.

Seasonality Strategy

We don’t need to talk about the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. You already know how to advise there. What about the unsung holidays, like China’s Singles Day (November 11)? What about recommending a media strategy that targets Chinese Americans for this day of celebrated buying? What can you do to extend beyond the week leading up to it? Investing in some research to understand when shopping actually begins will give your pitch more power. Learning how long the tail is for this seasonal day will also help turn this strategy into success for your advertisers. Take a close look at the seasonal boxes your advertisers tick and build a smarter strategy around them.

Internal Pivot

In partnership with your advertiser, look deeply at their first party data, and use that to drive new media strategies. Here’s an example: A major news outlet was selling advertising on its website. Sales were flat. One sales manager decided to take a look at internal data on website visits. She sliced the data by geography, time of day, day of the week, and pages viewed. This was just a starting place, but already she was able to put together a pitch to advertisers based on the data: East coast visitors to the site logged on during their lunch break, while West coast visitors logged on in the morning to read the news. This gave them solid evidence that the audience size was triple its normal day-to-day size and merited a media package based on this.

These are just a couple of possible media strategies to use in pitching your advertisers for business. Opening your mind and thinking beyond just selling – thinking about truly partnering with your advertisers – will give you an advantage in the competitive media selling space.