Advertising, General

TechStars Launch Patriot Boot Camp. Genius. Look no further for a new model army of authentic and trusted local ad sellers

If I had a pound – or, indeed, a dollar – for every time I’ve written ‘Now, that’s interesting…’ on this blog over the last four years, I’d be on that beach and long gone.

But this is interesting.

Because it touches on conversations and thoughts that have been a-foot here for the last three or four months; it also *might* start to address one of the biggest challenges facing local media here, in Europe or in the US.

Where do we find the next generation of digital ad reps? Who in our local community can we trust enough to part with our local ad dollars in the hope of winning the hearts, minds and eyeballs of our local customers?

It is a subject that we have touched on before given that Addiply in its v3 version now comes with an affiliate sales programme in-built – the chance to open up a secondary market in localised ad sales via an automated commission model.

The door to which sits here: ‘Start Selling Now’…

The premise being very simple; from their 90% revenue return, publishers set aside a percentage of that figure to act as a commission incentive for third party sellers – be they the stay-at-home Mom, the local marketing agency, the college kids on a digital sales course or a fully-fledged national ad agency.

Publishers can now ‘out-source’ the sales function to people who know what they’re doing – whilst always retaining the right of veto on any advert thus delivered.

We lift the burden of ad sales off community publishers and re-arm and re-equip new armies of local ad sales folk to go out and build their own, new businesses servicing that secondary market.

Which then brings us to this: TechStars Patriot Boot Camp.

Its intentions are bang on the money: ‘This initiative can put these service members back into battle – a new battle – one that can harvest their incredible drive, hard work and determination much more than a normal job or unemployment can…’

Go back to the challenge facing us all – be it GroupOn, Digital First, TrinityMirror, JP, AdSense, LivingSocial, Addiply or any of the raft of ‘deals’ people now swamping local merchants on both sides of the Atlantic.

The key to unlocking the merchant’s marketing purse is to have the most trustworthy and respected ad/offers rep in town.

Nothing has changed in that regard; just because their ad spend is switching from one medium and timeframe to another, the act of sales is still P2P – person-to-person.

That was the big ‘take away’ from my trip to StreetFightMag’s gig in New York last autumn; that …Face to Face Sales Is The Key To Unlock That $150 Billion Door’.

That people have to be authentic; they have to be respected; they have to be trusted… Particularly in the Wild West that remains online, local marketing. Just who can I trust with my ad spend?

Having watched our Kevin pound the streets of Norwich raising c£102,000-worth of locally-sourced digital display advertising over the last five seasons for MFW/Norwich you begin to twig what makes for a great ad rep; what skill sets and personality traits are required to prise that ad money out of your butcher, your baker and your local candlestick maker.

And they include presentation skills – looking the part; they include punctuality – turning up on time; suited and booted – ‘in uniform’, in many a sense. And have presence; being confident and assured in your bearing. And be one of them… be authentic.

All of which has pointed me to one, richly deserving group of people who are wholly tailor-made to be a new, model army of local digital ad reps as we seek to collaborate ever more with the instinctive forces of the web and turn this world of ours upside down.

They are the Veterans. Suited, booted, respected and authentic, that’s your recruitment ground as the old ad reps stay all-too wedded to their print ad sales commission and the college kids – for now – lack the same presence of the returning neighbourhood/neighborhood hero.

For HM Gov’t or, indeed, the Federal Gov’t in the US, re-arming these people with a simple, transparent tool set that can then start to address one of the greater challenges of our digital times – namely the survival of local media – then it would appear to be a win, win.

After all, how many local merchants are ever going to say ‘No!’ to the guy just back from Afghanistan? To the lad with two tours to Iraq pinned on his chest?

They’re not. Because he or she is one of them; they’re authentic; they’re local. They’ve done their bit; now it is time for the local merchants to do their’s…

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