With all of the talk swirling in the Media world about the ‘Death of the Salesperson’, and how armies of machines are soon to take over the entire Media Sales/Buy cycle [ironically, right as the estimates come out that over $600M/yr is now being wasted on phantom/fraudulent ad buying via RTB, because they removed the humans from the process], it seemed a good time to capture a snapshot from another industry, to maybe help frame the debate.
This industry is one that has already gone through a similar process with automation, yet, as you can see from this Beverly Hills address, it still has pricey buildings full of people. Those people are Financial analysts, Traders…and Brokers. Brokers, as in ‘Salespeople.’ This, despite all of the Online, “No-Fee” account options for your IRA, 401k, and stock-buying impulses.
Among the array of big Wall Street finance firms, the one pictured here, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney, is easily as loathed, as any of the others. And yet…they remain a going concern. And they also remain, BIG. Again, this despite having no-fee Online brokerages, ETF funds, No-Load Mutual Funds, etc., these firms still have armies of people working for them.
Why? Why, when you can buy stocks now for $7 via a shop like Scottrade, would anyone use firms like this? Because there is a market willing to pay for their services, and value provided.
So, with firms like this still in business, it becomes VERY hard for me to believe, that Media Sales is about to become fully automated for good, leaving the Sales person out of the equation. Is my reasoning simple?
Those people hawking stocks, annuities, bonds, and IRA’s, can NOT guarantee you one added dime, unless they basically sell you a single bond, or a Savings account. They cannot. And yet, their fees are exhorbitant despite this. Even with your & my ability to ‘automate’ them out of the process!
Not so with Media. Media campaigns, even if not fully “guaranteed” in some aspects, will always provide some value if executed with reputable vendors. Even if you get “no results”, does not mean that weren’t also building awareness, Brand recognition, and other intangibles. [Think I'm wrong? Look at the $78B/year in TV ad buying, based on exactly this!]
With stocks of course…you can lose your shirt. And more, if you bet on the more exotic products like futures contracts, etc.
So…which is it? Are we doomed to extinction in the Media Sales world, or inspired to excellence, and adapting once again? Or are we exiting the scene for something better? We all wish we knew that answer, but if the firm pictured here still has Stockbrokers [or ok, "Financial Planners", if you must], then surely there are many places yet for us to sell in 2014 and beyond!
Will there be shifting in Media? When isn’t there? That’s nothing new. Just make sure, you can sell what IS new, when it arrives.