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Subject: Re: UKNM: Mo' Banner Blues
From: Ray Taylor
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 17:45:39 GMT

Deborah Loth <deborahatoddjob [dot] co [dot] uk> said:

>Ray Taylor wondered:
>>Why then do so many advertisers still want to do it themselves, without the
>>help of an online media agency? Media owners tell me maybe half of all web
>>advertising is booked direct. Granted there are few specialist online media
>>houses in the UK at present, but even so, some of the mixed web design and
>>media/marketing companies (I am told) do a good job too, as do the likes of
>>Modem Poppe and BMP Interaction (by reputation).
>Is it that the advertisers take a DIY approach, or that media owners are in
>fact playing the dual role of media owner and agency? Is it that half of
>all web advertising is booked direct, or that half of all web advertising
>is sold direct?
>I think you'll find that many media owners approach advertisers directly,
>often with fully developed, all-in media and creative proposals. Sometimes
>its hard to know what they're selling, the media or the
>mini-site/screensaver/banner campaign creative production.

I think you are right. Media owners do sell direct, and in competition with
their agency customers. I have been told by a client prospect, now a client,
that we were pitching against one online marketing company and DoubleClick.
I had to explain to them that we did not compete with DoubleClick, we were a
DoubleClick customer and worked with them (among many others) to build
campaigns. DC got a percentage of the business anyway but certainly not 100
per cent. It wasn't DC's fault that we were competing for the business,
that's just the product of a naive marketplace.

A lot of media sales networks, and for that matter big single sites, tell
clients that they can plan and manage whole campaigns for clients - which of
course they can do - but only on the sites they sell, and without a great
deal of knowledge of the client requirements. A bit like going into John
Lewis on Oxford Street, handing over 500 and saying "go by me some
clothes." One thing's for certain, they will have no difficulty speding it
for you and they have plenty of stuff on the shelves to shift.

For sales houses and media owners to pitch new media business direct is no
surprise, there are many benefits to the media owner in doing so - they can
get 100% of budget (we seldom place a campaign with just one site / network)
they don't lose 15% agency commission, and they are less likely to be asked
to discount the price further (I hope) than if dealing with a hard-nosed
media buyer (which I am not, as it happens).

The downside for advertisers is that they are less likely to get a complete
and well functioning campaign, there is no expert involved to check the deal
is good, and for smaller campaigns they have no leverage against the media
owner if things go wrong.

But there is a downside to media owners / sales houses too. Sales people
spend more time coaching the newcomers, less time servicing media clients
when they sell direct. When campaigns don't work as well as they should,
advertisers are less likely to come back. And there are lots of other sites
for them to choose next time. An agency is more likely to stick to products
they know and trust than a fickle advertiser.

Ray Taylor
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