Many people think that only companies with big media budgets can work deals that save them 50%, 70% or more. We repeatedly prove that theory wrong.
One client recently came to us with a $15,000 test budget. They were floored when we were able to buy $97,413 worth of media for just $14,966. Here are a few of the strategies that allow us to achieve such mega savings:
Play One Against the Other. Start by gathering information on a wide range of media possibilities, then finding the best deal in the bunch. Use that deal as leverage with every other choice on the list. “We’re deciding between you and Publication B. You’re both great, but their cost per thousand is half of yours. Can you match their rates?”
Find a Reason. Even if you can’t play one medium against another, all is not lost. Your request for lower rates will generally do better if accompanied with a solid reason. Ask if they offer test rates, frequency discounts, or mail order rates. If you’re testing outside your main category, the media may be more likely to cut you some slack if you point out that the buy in question is a bit of a gamble for you.
Timing Helps. Even if we know that we’ll be buying certain media, we won’t book it until the last minute if we think we may be able to do better on rates. If you say “no” (or “I don’t know”) three times, lower rates may suddenly materialize. Note that this strategy requires your expressing an interest far ahead of the deadline, and maintaining an ongoing dialogue over a period of time.
Relationships Count. We bend over backwards to maintain superb relationships with our vendors, and we’re rewarded by them bending over backwards to help us and our clients. Sure, it helps that we represent a lot of business for them. But just as important is the fact that we return their phone calls (even when we don’t want something from them), pay our bills promptly, send materials on time, and say thank you for their good service.
Ask for Added Value. Once you have the rate as low as you think you can, see if there’s any other way to sweeten the pot. Will they run a free banner ad, give you an editorial mention, or let you use a list a second time for no extra charge?
While some media is just not negotiable, usually great deals are possible even for small advertisers. The key is patience, persistence, strategy, and an ongoing dialogue so vendors understand what they need to do to help you succeed.