Friday, November 16, 2007

"The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention." Kevin Kelly

"If you're not quite there, getting there takes some nerve." Tom Peters

"Execution is the job of the business leader." Larry Bossidy

Today's image: Portrait of a Superman by Thomas Hawk. Wonderful. Thank you!

(Supermen need your help)

Broadcast sales is broken. We need a new format. A reboot ain't enough. What's called for is a new OS.

Reading Tom Peters and it hit me, like the kiss on the end of a wet fist (my thanks to troupe Firesign).

Tom referenced Jeffery Tobias Halter. Selling to men - the transaction model; selling to women - the relational model. The example used is "Mission: Go to Gap, buy a pair of pants. Male, Time - 6 minutes, Cost - $33. Female, Time - 3 hours 26 minutes, Cost - $876."

The comparison we most often used in the last century was shoes. Men go out to "kill" a pair of shoes and return in minutes. Women go "shoe shopping" returning in hours and sometimes without shoes but seldom empty handed. Another typical stereotype involves how men get lunch when women discuss the options and go to lunch.

The bulk of broadcast sales remains transactional.

It's fair to ask - is transactional male in its very nature?

Does this manifest itself in attitude? Get out there and "kill" some business today. Is this exhibited in too many brute force tactics, male approaches including phone blitz fire selling and the relentless competitive offensives. The continued sanction of internecine warfare. The silo restricted battles of TV vs TV and Radio vs Radio. The accepted ritual of broadcasters getting up everyday and going to work with one game plan - to kill other broadcasters. The avail become blood sport.

The entire world of measured media and media behavior is changing around us while our sales departments (absent the obvious revolution in communication tools) continue, as a practical matter, to operate using a template, a format, first developed in the last century.

What part of the sales crisis continues, in some measure, because of male hard-wiring issues? How much of our inability to make effective corrective progress can be traced to male DNA stuff (and associated derivatives including ego)? Have the Supermen of the business already given the mission of fixing sales their best shot? Are we failing to take advantage of new opportunities because of genetic blindness? Held back by a belief system based upon the tweaking, fine-tuning and perpetuation of inherited best practice? A faith in operating traditions so strong, prejudice so deeply ingrained that it precludes any possibility of practice abandonment? Why do we continue to be obsessed with getting better at these same old approaches? In sum, we are doing basically the same things better and expecting a significantly different result.

Clearly, it's not working.

There has never been more cash pumped into the ad spend and up for grabs yet broadcast is failing to grow. Hint: the buyers are not at fault. Their failure to understand the power and value of broadcast, their lack of investment serves as perhaps the most valid of report cards, it's hard empirical evidence on the effectiveness of our selling efforts.

What should be done next?

It's time to stop playing around with the numerator and get to work on the more important strategic mission - changing the denominator.

My suggestion is we need to get different.

It's time to put more women in charge.


"You need revenues to grow earnings over time"
Dick Kovacevich

"Our whole story is growing revenue"
Vernon Hill

"Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource"
Richard Florida

My thanks, again, to the great Tom Peters for inspiration. My thanks too to Dan Kelley for his kind words earlier this week. Rock on, Dan!

Catch someone doing something right today! Have a great weekend. Viva Le Beaujolais Nouveau!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!

What a dead on writing.

As a DOS my life is a living hell mostly because of older white gentlemen that are just clueless, way out of touch.

Working harder and working smarter at the wrong stuff will never get the job done.

I will be sharing this writing with others in my company and can only hope that our industry wakes up to your wisdom before it is too late.


Anonymous said...

David you are totally on the money with this post. Conventional wisdom says we need only wait for the big O and political and TV will be just fine next year thank you very much. Yeah and 09 will be another hard comp climb with more cuts on the expense side.You might ask why not get out? Good question thought about during many a drive home. My only honest response is broadcast sellers and their managers are caught up in something like Stockholm syndrome, we are hostages to the idiots at the top (and the money is still damn good, beats working for a living). Enjoy your blog!! Good that someone is telling it like it really is.