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MBPT Spotlight: How to Sell Multi-Platform Advertising Today

We live in a multi-platform world where consumers enjoy unprecedented access to content across an ever-widening array of devices: from mobile, PCs and tablets to over-the-top, streaming services and downloads.

For those driving the ad revenue to support our newly liberated access to content wherever we are, the sales opportunities presented by multi-platform are just as great but have yet to be realized. That’s because multi-platform advertising — a concept meant to push our industry forward — is falling behind.

Today’s viewing habits are diverse and the devices are numerous — your multi-platform sales strategy needs to be too. The power of multi-platform is not to streamline engagement across platforms, but to offer possibilities that would not exist with a single device.

So, if the industry is going to catch up to consumers, it’s time to accept that the traditional rules no longer apply and start building new sales strategies to fit the opportunity. Here are some rules to live by:

• Dynamic Segmentation: No one audience lives on one single device. Sellers must make the investment to research, identify and clearly segment audiences across devices and create compelling, scalable targets for agencies. Multi-platform starts here.

• Dynamic Engagement: It started with the "click," moved on to the "like" and now is a hybrid of tweet-text-photo-hashtag-post. We need to respect that consumers will interact differently with every platform, and try to understand what that means for advertisers trying to reach their target audiences across platforms most efficiently.

• Dynamic Inventory: If a deal requires 25 different types of creative, the cost of sale and effort outweighs the benefits – at least for most brands. For now, start small. Develop deals that have common or limited ad sizes and types, then add variety and complexity later once ways to manage a diversity of inventory are introduced.

• Dynamic Measurement: Debates over measurement have stifled multi-platform’s progress. Would a single method for measurement make the ad sales ecosystem easier to manage? Sure — but it’s not required to get started. Better for perfect to not be the enemy of the good — as they say — and make multi-platform work best with what we have and what we can measure today. Streamlined metrics and other sales tools to support more complex campaigns will follow.

The key is to be as dynamic as possible in response to our multi-platform world. The process will be one of trial and error: combine platforms, inventory types and measurement and experiment with the results. This will in turn generate more demand for more complex multi-platform advertising campaigns, enticing further progress and at a faster rate.

Finally ― until it all becomes easier to navigate ― take advantage of solutions already at your disposal. Advertising technology has been the frontrunner in making multi-platform selling a reality. Today it is possible to create consolidated deals, unified delivery views and aggregated invoices with the touch of a button. And that’s just the beginning.

A practiced and perfected solution to these challenges will take time, but often the most difficult challenges go hand-in-hand with the greatest opportunities.

Until then, take a step. Find your audience. Build that plan. Your revenue will thank you for it.

Travis Howe heads up account management, client support, documentation, marketing and training teams at INVISION, a provider of multi-platform advertising sales software. Prior to joining INVISION, he served as senior VP for the Americas overseeing sales development and ad operations functions for Sony’s digital ad sales division.