Differentiating – the Creme De La Creme of Add-On Sales Success

First Quarter 2017 is behind us, and it’s a good time to take stock of your digital sales efforts to determine how much more can be accomplished in 3 more quarters to turn 2017 into the year that you succeed in making digital sales a key factor in creating year after year revenue gains.

Differentiation is a core principal for all Media Sales to create a perceived need for a seller’s product and the benefit from choosing it.

I was on an Advanced Training Session with a client recently and asked the sales persons attending how they differentiate their own media from the local competition.  I wasn’t too surprised to hear in great detail the way this client strategically emphasizes key facets of their radio station’s local prowess, the weakness of their competition, and how their clients know how important these facets are. The big question then, is why is it so hard to differentiate your online offerings from local competitors?

Our company has created our Audience Extension service to be so simple and well thought out, and I think a lot of our clients need to better understand the big pieces, and how well our product can fit into their sales effort, and successfully increase their digital sales revenue along with increasing their core media sales revenue.

So back to the way your company differentiates your local media from other “like” media in your community.   You have expertly differentiated your own media from the local competition.  We have done the same thing with our product to help you to have the edge.  Our product is a one-of-a-kind digital media product that your company can sell exclusively making you the only game in town with a Premium local online media product.   How well is this positioned with your own differentiating qualities?

Why is our AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ Product Premium?

+ 100% Transparency, 100% Viewability, and 100% Local Reach are hallmark attributes of our Media Product.
+ Cookie Based: 0% Transparency, 46% Viewability (Comscore), and 37% Local Reach (eMarketer).

Why is our Product “One-Of-A-Kind?

+ Because it is the only such product to be designed to “fit” and excel in Local Online Media.
+ When we created our product the impetus was our realization in 2011 that national cookie-based targeting did not apply to local online media sufficiently after conducting real cookie based campaigns and having them fail to perform.

Now there are between 11 and 22 local sellers of digital in 2017, and they are all selling the same cookie-based product regardless of how craftily they explain it.

With all of this in mind, I’d like to offer Advanced Training to any client who wants to get their sales person’s heads wrapped around “combo selling” with the idea that you’ll build more sales revenue for your core media in the process.

Tom Doyle
Executive Offices
Aqua Media Direct, Inc.
225 South Lake Avenue
3rd Floor
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 432-7253
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How To Succeed At Selling Local Digital and Have Year After Year Revenue Gains.

Well, 2017 selling is in full swing and we want to help our clients to maximize their revenue by learning the best way to sell local online advertising and, once mastered, have year after year revenue gains.

Local Media Companies were able to have year after year revenue gains on their own until the Millennial generation came along and let their media choices known. Now we know that the next generation after Millennial’s, Generation Z, shows little interest in desktop, or even laptop computers opting instead to access all of their media via mobile devices such as tablets and phones.

So to succeed at selling local digital along side your core media is a clear strategy for building year after year revenue gains.

I. Commitment

The first thing to do to enjoy these revenue gains, is to recognize that this is the only opportunity to continue having annual revenue gains, and then commit to this strategy; mandating that digital revenue is “your” strategy to grow your own business.

II. Year of the “Combo Seller”

2017 is now the year of the “combo seller” according to Borrell & Associates, and providing your sales persons with a digital budget in addition to their regular budget is step 1. Of course, this creates the expectation that they will make local digital sales a priority. A key part of this, that local advertisers need to know that your sellers are knowledgeable in selling digital, and making it easy to understand and assimilate is a priority.

Our company has created a one-of-a-kind targeting model meant to excel in local digital advertising, and we have comprehensive sales materials, and a Sales Discipline that makes becoming knowledgeable easy.

III. Sales Discipline

It is fair to say that every local media company experiences some degree of an 80/20 rut. That is to say that nearly 100% of your core media sales are coming from 20% of the local prospective advertisers. Breaking out of this rut is a goal shared with us by many of our clients. In part, that is why we created our Sales Discipline. It is so comprehensive that, if followed, will produce in excess of $1,000,000 in additional digital revenue. The wildcard here is how much more of your core revenue can you add using a combo sales strategy? It is an effective way to break the 80/20 cycle.

Our Sales Discipline starts with picking a media plan from our 1200+ Media Plans. For this example: Dental Health

By picking 1 Media Plan per week for your team, identify leads via a search on Google such as “Dentists In Cedar Rapids, IA”. Google shows us which Dentists have websites so that we know they are already promoting themselves online. Picking 1 Media Plan per week means having to create one proposal per week, leaving more time for selling.

With 59 leads it is entirely possible for your team to combo sell your core media with a digital campaign to at least 3 or 4 Dentists.
The next step is to create a persuasive customer needs assessment. “What is a new customer worth to a “Blank”” will always bring up information useful for this.

We picked “The Wealthy Dentist” website, and were able to find great CNA information to add to our PowerPoint presentation for the week.

To see the whole Sales Discipline, download it from your Aqua account under “Sales Materials”.

IV. Exclusivity & Ownness

Having the Exclusive ability to sell a one-of-a-kind “Premium” local digital targeting product that has 100% Reach, 100% Viewability, and 100% Transparency is clearly a win for any Local Media Company that is serious about succeeding at selling local digital as a core business building ethic. Our “Exclusivity” makes you the only game in town to sell this superior local media product and a confident sales person should have no problem setting a premium price.

Our contractual relationship comes with ownness for both parties. Our ownness is to do everything possible to make our services turnkey, and provide sales materials, and a road map to make our clients successful in selling digital revenue and having year after year revenue gains.

The ownness on your side of the deal, is to make the commitment to do much more than our contractual monthly minimum of 800,000 impressions. If you follow our Sales Discipline, you will succeed in breaking your 80/20 rut with your core media by selling more of it to advertisers outside of your 20% rut, and selling way above the minimums in our contract.

To summarize, we want to help. As our clients are the only persons that can see this blog, we are happy to do some advance training to help dial in your sales people to our Sales Discipline. It’s really up to you, and whether you to want to make this your strategy for building your media business to enjoy year after year revenue gains.

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Increasing Digital Revenue Using The Full Scope of Our Service

No one wants to leave money on the table, so why do some local Media Companies lag behind others in realizing the kind of digital revenue opportunity our Audience Extension product provides?

Take into consideration that the good news according to the graph below from BIA KELSEY, is that Traditional Media remains flat through 2020; which is better than some have feared. In fact, I think this number will stay flat, increasing and decreasing a little each year, beyond the five years shown here. As we see Millennials finding their careers, having families, and seeing the need to share media options, like many families do, Traditional Media will be a staple in their lives.

Yes, they will still be leading the way in solo digital, which is why we are seeing digital dollars increasing in each of the next 5 years.


So let’s look at what the real digital opportunity is in your local market. We have picked a market size of 100,000 people so you can imagine what is possible in your market by doing some simple math. You may think that these numbers are impossible, but it just takes dedication and making a concerted effort to make selling digital a priority to get your share of these digital dollars. Below we have shown a number in this example that has 11 digital companies earning $13,253,735 in this market of 100,000 people. As a digital selling entity along with your traditional media sales, you can make at least 1/11th of this amount, or $1,204,855 in digital revenue to add to your traditional media sales.

11 Digital Companies 2016 Digital Earnings


Your Company in a market size of 100,000


Pinch yourself, you are not dreaming.

Our company has created a one-of-a-kind digital media product that makes your company the only game in town selling a Premium Product. Any media seller has to differentiate their media selections to compete in local traditional sales. We give you the built-in digital program, that let’s your sales people differentiate your offering to sell digital media along side your traditional media. You can be sure that of the 11 digital sellers in your market, that 10 of the other sellers are literally selling the same cookie based product. That is why having exclusivity in selling our “cookie-less”Premium Product that has 100% local reach, 100% Transparency, and 100% Viewability, you automatically have an edge against your local digital competition.

Selling Strategies That Work To Increase Digital Dollars

The reason I mentioned using the Full Scope of Our Service is because some of our clients don’t realize that we have an answer to every objection, and selling strategies that will definitely improve your digital sales.

Here are a few of these strategies.

1. Give your sales persons a digital budget for your next fiscal year.
2. Make 1 advertiser type like Dentists one week, or Pet Stores another week as a priority with a new advertiser type each week.
3. Do Customer Need Assessments using a Google search to find out how much a new client is worth to a “Dentist”…
4. Set up Advanced Training for your sales people with your Aqua Media Direct team.

We’re serious about helping our clients achieve meaningful digital revenue. If your not nearing the potential of digital revenue for your market, get in touch with us today!

Alan Thiessen, VP Media Services alan@aquamediadirect.com
Tom Doyle, CEO ceo@aquamediadirect.com

Tom Doyle
Executive Offices
Aqua Media Direct, Inc.
225 South Lake Avenue
3rd Floor
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 432-7253

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Don’t Lose Your Exclusivity

Another attention grabbing headline…

Here’s a little history:

In 2011, our company created AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ and built a sales program that emphasized the uniqueness of our product offering, and that as an Exclusive Partner, your company was the only game in town that could sell it. With only 10 Media Plans, we started reaching out to partners and the rest is history. Our 100+ Media Partners enjoy our 1100+ Media Plans, Sales Materials, Selling Strategies for Building Digital Sales Success, and most of all having the one-of-a-kind digital media product to differentiate your offering from the 20+ companies that are selling the same products, i.e., re-targeting, behavioral targeting, etc.

Fast forward to now, and we see some great efforts among our media partners.

The biggest challenge any media company has is differentiating their media product in order to sell it.

We have done this work for you with the creation of our Media Product, and all you have to do is realize what you have and why it is superior to the 20 other digital product offerings in your market; and that you are the only source of this superior product in your local market.

If you comprehend what you have, you won’t have to worry about lowering your prices to compete, because you have the only product of it’s kind and it is a premium product. What makes it a premium product?

100% Transparency, 100% Viewability, and 100% Local Reach to name a few.

It is early September and 4th quarter is around the corner. Many local businesses make a good amount of revenue during 4th quarter. We have a plan to help you capture more of this business using foolproof Customer Needs Analyses to boost your 4th quarter revenue, and to make 2017 be the largest amount of add-on digital revenue your company has made to date.

The alternative is to do nothing more to sell digital revenue. If this is the goal, then we’ll have to grant Exclusivity to a competitor; which goes against our grain.

Please reach out to schedule an appointment with us to discuss “Increasing Your Local Digital Revenue”.

Alan Thiessen alan@aquamediadirect.com
Tom Doyle ceo@aquamediadirect.com

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AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ – Target People NOT Bots

Now that we have your attention, let’s take a look at why this is true.

Cookie-based advertising which is the status quo of online advertising targets USERS so websites do not matter for this type of targeting.
Since 20 local digital sellers are selling this cookie-based advertising, it pays to have the tools to differentiate your digital offering from the pack.

Here are some key issues with Cookie Based online advertising:

— cookie based ads are being blocked by 63% of your advertisers target clients.
— It is estimated by Google themselves that 60% of all cookie based internet advertising is below the fold and out of view, including themselves.
— ComScore® has separately estimated that 46% of all ads are not even seen.
— Solve Media’s quarterly Bot Traffic Market Advisory shows that between 20-30 percent of online ad traffic is fake. That level is between 11-14 percent for mobile ads. And 20% to 30% of clicks are fraudulent.

Our company has designed our Audience Extension product from the ground up with the local media seller’s needs in mind. This means we created it to be a premium product to be sold exclusively by our local media partners giving them an edge with selling our product, and effectively differentiating their digital offering from the status quo cookie-based advertising that is being sold by all the other sellers in your local market.

Let’s take a look at what makes your digital offering so different.

AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ places ads directly on websites that are selected by 3rd party research to likely have the audiences for a specific local advertiser’s product or service. We do this with 100% transparency which completely avoids the viewability issues that are rampant with cookie based ads.

AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ has 100% local reach because we show ads without cookies and we have extensive local website inventory in markets of all sizes.

AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ has 100% viewability because we target only the right websites, and place ads only above the fold.

So why do we target people NOT bots?

Because our 1100+ Media Plans have 100% transparent websites in them, and when you have 100% transparent inventory there is no place for “Bots” to push their way into our delivery.

You can think of our average 2.0 click thru ratio as being organic because the only people to see our ads are within your community.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Alan Thiessen, GM Media Services alan@aquamediadirect.com
Tom Doyle CEO, ceo@aquamediadirect.com

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Aqua Media Direct Balances Frequency and “True Reach”.

All of our local media clients go to great lengths to explain the reach their media has to qualified audiences when selling to local clients. Why then, do some clients offer behavioral targeting and re-targeting which are the antithesis of reach?

Let’s examine what real reach a local behavioral or re-targeting campaign has. This cookie based method must place a cookie on a browser before showing ads, and then shows as many ads as possible to a single USER. This really amounts to catastrophic “frequency”. If the rule of 7 is still in your vocabulary, how many more times than 7 should a person see an ad to effectively sway them toward a purchase?

It’s no wonder that cookie based advertising companies encourage heavy front loading of campaigns to take advantage of cookie “freshness”. What they don’t acknowledge is how they will continue to target the same USERS for 30 to 45 days.

Take into consideration the following analysis that acknowledges that a single USER can be responsible for 1342 impressions per day.
US 314.18B online daily ad US impressions per day
234MM internet users per day
1,342 online ad impressions per day per USER
1 USER can see 41,602 impressions per month (31 day month)*
*Cookie base advertising targets USER’s relentlessly wherever the USER goes on the web resulting in
extreme frequency and limited reach.

Now it is not likely that a cookie based firm will consume all of a single user’s impressions per day, but with front loading it is likely that hundreds of ads will be seen by a single USER in a single day; well beyond recommended frequency.

Our company has a solution to this catastrophic frequency. Our method, AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ targets websites with sophisticated research that helps us to understand the audience interests of a particular brand website. We place ads before the click, and use frequency caps to balance frequency and reach. This makes us the only company that can provide true reach to local advertisers.

Our company has balanced frequency and reach, and brought “true reach” back to the equation.

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Exclusivity & Leverage

You may have heard us mention Exclusivity and Leverage. Rather than assume everyone understands the value of these ideas and how they work together, let’s explore this now.

Aqua Media Direct has a one of kind online display media product with our AQUA PRE-TARGETING™. The “status quo” online display services don’t target websites at all but they do cookie a USER, and then show ads to that user wherever they go on the web. Our method, does not target users or cookie them. We target brand websites via 3rd party research that identifies the audiences that visit the websites. Because we are the only company that does this, and your company has exclusivity with selling our product, you can leverage the sale to a local advertiser as being the only source in your local area that can provide our unique product and the features and benefits that are exclusive to our product.

Factor in that the cookie-based method suffers from a 63% drop in reach because Millennials know how to use the “Do Not Track” options on their browsers, and many have downloaded “Adblocker Plus”; and you can see that having our product also provides you with the most local reach because we can reach 100% of the people in your market.

We have a 1000 plus Media Plans we’ve created for local Media Clients, and these are easy to walk into a local advertiser location with some simple customization. The list of Media Plans is an excellent source of local leads, also.

Another great value to our method, is that you are the only company to provide 100% transparency on the Media Plans, and in your month-end reports to your clients. They also benefit from the 100% viewability our “above the fold” placements provide.

If you look objectively at your local market, most of your competitors are selling digital display media, and some online companies are contacting local advertisers directly. You can be sure that each of these competitors are selling the “status quo” cookie-based product.

With this in mind, your company is poised to be the digital sales leader in your market by providing the most professional and premium online display media solution. Most of our clients have minimum spends to keep the exclusivity in their local markets. If anyone wants help in doing this, please reach out. We want to help all our clients succeed.

We will continue to provide blog topics that help you to better understand the edge our product provides. We are here to help, don’t hesitate to ask questions.

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A lot of our clients have asked how our company went from 4 years of being in the nucleus of the online advertising industry to our transition to being a company that is 100 percent dedicated to Local Online Advertising.

Let’s shed some light on this.

We’ve mentioned that we were experiencing lessening confidence in the cookie based advertising we were engaged in from 2010 to early 2011.  It was around that time we started experimenting with using 3rd party research values to identify audiences that visit websites, and came up with the idea that we could place ads before a click.  Then we had two very successful local campaigns; one a Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon that targeted Hispanic audiences, and the other was a major airline promoting a travel package from Phoenix, AZ to Mexico.

The Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon did so well that he had to stop advertising after 6 months because he had too many customer responses.  The airline wanted to have their campaign hit a $12 cost per booking.  Our campaign brought their cost per booking to $8.

It had dawned on us that these two successful campaigns were both local; had specific requirements, and we used our research values to transparently target the websites with the highest affinities for having the right audiences for each advertiser.

We were fascinated.

This fascination led us to focus more on local campaigns for the rest of 2011, when we started putting together custom Media Plans using the audience research method that we now call AQUA PRE-TARGETING™.  We realized that local online advertising is where we had found the sweet spot of having more than enough available local inventory; and because of the success we were seeing with our own “cookie-less” audience targeting, we were getting more renewals from local advertisers.

Our next step was to create 10 Standard Media Plans for top local advertisers using our AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ and then we started contacting local Media Companies to share our new way of targeting local online advertising, placing ads before the click, and optimizing campaigns across transparent websites to improve the results for local advertisers.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.

We were fascinated.

From 2012 to now, we have been working with local media companies exclusively.  Since our management team members all have local media backgrounds, it is easy for us to create a comprehensive set of sales tools to help our clients succeed and excel at local digital sales.  The result is having the most comprehensive digital sales solution for local media companies complete with training, ongoing support and continuous upgrading of our Local Media Dashboard to be an ideal digital marketing tool for our local media clients.

AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ is now the preeminent audience targeting for creating successful local online advertising campaigns.

We Are Fascinated.

Tom Doyle, CEO, Aqua Media Direct, Inc.
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National Online Advertising vs. Local Online Advertising

National Online Advertising vs. Local Online Advertising

One of the best lenses to see how National Online Advertising differs from Local Online Advertising is to understand how a national advertiser protects itself versus the very little protection the same industry affords Local advertisers.

National Online Advertising

A case in point is “viewability” which is a concern for National Advertisers, so much so, that they employ companies that specialize in exploiting fear, like Double Verify or MOAT.

National brands rely on these companies, and they also apply an attribution model to award conversions to a last impression.  The “last impression” is the one that a user clicks on and then converts which depends on which model an advertiser uses to count as a conversion.  Online Ad Companies are specialists at jockeying for these “last impressions” by flooding cheap blind inventory to boost cookies.

Here’s what the Washington Post said about this practice in a recent article by Digiday.

Jeff Burkett, senior director, sales operations and product strategy at the Post, said advertisers that are measuring campaigns on a view-through basis are incentivized to buy cheap ads at high volume.

“If the goal for the campaign is a viewed-through attribution, the whole goal is to drop as many cookies as they can on people, so they, the ad network, take the credit for it,” Burkett said. “You win not if you do a really good job, you win if you sell the last ad. I would call it a fraud. It works against you to do the right thing.”

Keep in mind from my earlier posts,  browser companies, like Mozilla Firefox, and Safari have restricted usage of 3rd party cookies in 2012 and 2013, so that the cookie pool for conducting “cookie based” campaigns has shrunk by around 60%.

Local Online Advertising

What does this mean for the local advertiser?

The local advertising behavioral or re-targeting provider does not provide viewability protection and often provides semi-transparent reporting with site names blocked by long numbers, “Unknown” or “Anonymous”.  It is our assertion that there are not enough cookies available to effectively provide “scale” for local behavioral or re-targeting campaigns to be effective; especially in the long term.

Our company doesn’t use cookies.  We use sophisticated research to place ads “before the click” on websites where our ads are placed above the fold (ATF), and served 100% transparently.  This makes the element of viewability a non-issue for our local campaigns.  Our local advertisers often have annual campaigns that continue to improve over time.

National advertisers could do this, too, but rely on the standard “cookie based” advertising that is the staple for most online media companies or buy website inventory directly on a transparent basis.

Take aways:

  • There is so much distrust in National Online Advertising that companies like Double Verify and MOAT are able to earn money protecting brands from bad inventory, and bad “viewability”.
  • Local Behavioral and Re-Targeting providers don’t afford local advertisers with viewability protection, and often have semi-transparent reporting that blocks site names with long numbers, “Unknown” or Anonymous.
  • Aqua Media Direct, Inc. has made Local Online Advertising very easy for our clients quite intentionally.  And viewability is not an issue when local ads are served to 100 percent transparent websites that are grouped to together by sophisticated research and placed into relevant Media Plans.

Tom Doyle, CEO Aqua Media Direct, Inc.

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A Primer On Online Advertising as it pertains to Local Online Media

A Brief Primer on the Online Advertising Industry as it Pertains to Local Online Media.

With all the confusion created by more competition in local online media, it is important to understand how the Online Advertising Industry works.

Online Advertising leapt into the present from the days of Ad Networks and Exchanges to what are now called “Inventory Sources” that are grouped together in DSP’s (Demand Side Platforms).  Your average DSP has 350+ Inventory Sources of every stripe, because the Internet has everything available that you can find in life.

Big brand websites are now conglomerates that own more than one site (think Industrial farming), and almost all ad-serving is done on an exchanging commerce level with real time bidding or RTB and programmatic buying.

That this whole industry is “cookie based” where they have to place a cookie before showing an ad, means that they target only “cookie ‘d” users, not transparent websites, and follow this user where ever they go on the web; and some of these sites can make an advertiser feel pretty squeamish.

Aqua Media Direct introduced AQUA PRE-TARGETING™ in 2012 around the time that browser companies like Mozilla Firefox imposed a restriction on 3rd party cookies because of privacy concerns which cut into the available “cookies” for national behavioral and re-targeting campaigns.  Safari already had restricted 3rd party cookies, and other browsers were following suit.  In fact, the 3rd party cookie which is a staple of the online advertising industry has seen reductions of about 60% of available cookie impressions since 2012.

We began to see the “writing on the wall” back in 2010 when we started to develop our alternative to cookie based advertising which was originally called “PRE-TARGETING”. We blended traditional media with online media, and learned how to place ads “before the click”.  We’ve had so many imitators that we now call this targeting model AQUA PRE-TARGETING™, which has been used to conduct local online advertising campaigns very effectively for more than 4 years.

Take aways:

  • Because “cookie based” advertising has to cookie a “user” before showing an ad, and that there is a 60% reduction in available cookies from the browser companies’ taking action; “cookie based” advertising is NOT scalable in local advertising.
  • “Cookie based” advertising is blind because, by definition, it targets only a user, not a specific website or relevant content.
  • Aqua Media Direct, specializes in Local Online Advertising without the use of cookies and our 100% transparent website inventory is scalable in local online advertising.
  • Aqua Media Direct has intentionally made local online advertising easy for our Local Media Company clients and continues to do so.

Tom Doyle, CEO, Aqua Media Direct, Inc.

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