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How To Write A Great Marketing Proposal
11/22/2009 at 9:30 PM ET
I just started working with a magazine that is trying to get national and international companies to buy ads in the magazine. Up till now the magazine has gotten ads by doing cold calling and door to door. Is there a book ore books that someone could recommend. I know very little about advertising and/or marketing. We don't have the budget to hire someone right now.
11/23/2009 at 7:48 AM
Cold calling on national accounts is almost sure to fail and is certain to be expensive, even if you can get to talk to the decision-makers.
And with most national and international companies cutting way back on advertising because of the economy, there's another obstacle in your path.
You might want to hire a firm of advertising sales reps, companies that represent more than one publication. that way you won't have to pay anyone a wage or salary. You simply pay the rep firm a commission if and when they sell an ad and the advertiser pays your invoice.
But your employer's problem is even more basic than that. The situation they face is one that should have been considered - and resolved - long, long ago.
Good luck to you and to the magazine.
11/23/2009 at 7:49 AM
my advice is to repeat your successes- because it works! You sell to large companies just as you do the smaller ones. There is no marketing letter that will assuredly go to the right person, is read and will be better than the last 200 to inspire someone to pick up the phone and act. A sales letter, in this industry, is really wasting time and money.
Just as you found out locally, people buy from people. Before you pick up the phone and call them, be clear in your mind. Why should Big CO choose you vs the last 200 regional mags?
A lot of large companies don't do regional publications but choose to support the local supplier. For example-- the local carpet store doesn't put Stainmaster tm in their ad because they are nice people. They get coop advertising $ from Stainmaster (paid) to do that. So make sure you tap into those coop $$.
11/23/2009 at 9:55 AM
The key to writing a great marketing proposal is to understand your target audience in such great detail that your proposal is spot-on for them, not a generic list of your features and benefits that would apply to anyone (and everyone).
You will need to do a lot of research to pull this off, but the time spent will be well worth it. The more specific you can be to each prospective advertiser in your proposal, the greater the likelihood you'll have a proposal they can't resist. You need to demonstrate that the benefit you deliver for them is precisely what they need to address their most pressing problem.
Once you develop your proposals this way you'll never go back to the old way -- generic presentations that are all about you and your company and your product.
11/23/2009 at 10:20 AM
I don't know that any book will help you in and of itself and I think Carol and phil are both right. It sounds obvious but the strategy of doing more of what works and less of what doesn't is a profitable one.
Right now many magazines are hurting, and if I'm Big Company X, for me to spend my ad dollars with you, I need solid answers to several questions:
What reader surveys have you done and what were the results?
(meaning, do readers WANT to see ads, or do they want to see fewer ads and more editorials? And if they want to see more editorials or op-ed pieces, how might these articles connect to my company, product, or service?)
Who are your readers and how does my product or service connect with them?
Who is currently advertising with you? (Companies of my size, bigger, smaller, one man outfits. local, national, regional, international?)
What benefits will I gain from advertising with your publication?
(If my ad has an offer and a deadline, what response rate might
I be looking at?)
What's my exposure? (number of subscribers, number of readers, circulation, where's the magazine displayed, bought, and distributed, how big's the page, is it printed in full colour or black and white or two colours?)
What's my reach and frequency of impression? (how many subscribers or readers do you have and what information do you have on the number of times each edition might be read?)
What's the connection between what I do or produce and the needs, interests, and pain points of your readers?
How many of my competitors advertise with you?
What rates do you offer them and how will you offer me a better rate?
Will you offer me editorial coverage?
How many different editions of your magazine are there and how can I tailor my ads to specific editions?
What's in this for me?
To attract the kinds of advertisers you're aiming for you've got to put your feet firmly in their their socks and you've got to then slip those socked tootsies into their boots and you've got to walk around in them.
Again and again on this forum I find myself writing similar things, not to sound like a broken record, but to drive home basic marketing points: use social proof and astonishing offers to create value and to get people to know you, like you, and trust you; tell advertisers what's in the deal for them; clearly outline what you've got, what it will do for them, and what you need them to do next.
I know that all sounds pretty basic stuff, but there's a perfectly good reason for that. It's because it IS pretty basic stuff.
Marketing is made far more complicated than it ever needs to be. Why? Because sadly, it's often driven or managed by people with little true understanding of basic business needs who set out to make themselves look smart, slick, creative, hip, trendy, or super intelligent.
Marketing isn't about smart suits, shiny shoes, MBAs, sleek cars, expense accounts, graphs, charts, and unintelligible explanations
of synergies, paradigm shifts and value ads. It's about presenting options, solving problems, and offering solutions.
I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
Wilmington, DE, USA
Follow me on
11/25/2009 at 8:22 PM
Go tsalk to the ad agencies and media buyers.
It is pretty straght forward.
Most large scale accounts don't buy mediqa placement directly themnselves (except in special cases) so you need to talk to the people who are making the placements.
You may need to offer deep discounts and even free pages in the beginning to win some good accounts but if the media buyers are happy with the results then they will come back.
Make sure you have a solid rate card to work from and that your print run / distribution figures are verified and validated bya thrid party.
Selling magazine ad space is a very very aggressive business and you will be up against super aggressive sales people from competing publishers.
The best sales advise that I can give fro your sales reps is
'RISK TO BE RUDE'
It may sound crazy but it works if used correctly.
PS: Forget the letter as the others mentioned here, a complete waste of time, paper and ink.
Just get oin the phones and start calling and get in the car and start visiting ad agencies.
11/25/2009 at 10:36 PM
Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy, on of the all time greatest advertising execs. Should give you plenty of info and lots to think about when developing your own plan.
12/5/2009 at 8:30 AM
I am closing this question since there has been no activity in 10 days.
Thanks for participating!
Carrie (Production Editor)
12/5/2009 at 12:55 PM
I want to thank everyone who responded to the question. I am still not sure how this site works so that why I haven't responded in a more timely fashion. I have read every response. If I have any other questions I will post them.
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