The folks at Borrell can really tell a good story, backed by solid research.

I was riveted by one story in particular during their webinar this week.

Because it’s the same one I tell:

Local media sellers have to deeply understand marketing principles, theories and strategies to deliver superior value to their clients these days, whether that’s serving the local business owner, the brand manager or the C-Suite.

Funny timing as just prior to the webinar, I’d posted this on LinkedIn:

Then, moments later, the B-team launched their presentation, which was a recap from their annual local advertising conference in NYC.

And the data they presented was a gold mine of insights from the local business owners they regularly survey.

In short, here’s what SMBs have to say about marketing and media these days, according to Borrell:

  • We know way more about marketing and media than we did just a few years ago
  • We understand there’s no one silver bullet. It’s about a mix.
  • We abhor reps who don’t understand us and our business

Then, the real kicker:

  • The thing that influences our ad buys the most is NOT THE MEDIA COMPANY
  • And it’s NOT THE SALES REP
  • The thing that influences us the most is THE AD TYPE

Yup, you read that right. Some 78% of SMBs say the *type of ad unit* is what influences their ad buy the most.

“Holy crap,” you say. “I’m the ultimate consultative seller. I’m proud of my deep and meaningful relationships. I care more about my client’s business than my client does!”

Maybe you can even assert…”my media company has more assets, capabilities and good old fashioned reach and engagement than any of my competitors!”

“And this is what I get? It’s not about me and my company…it’s about an ad unit?!”

Well, fear not my intrepid media seller. All is not lost.

Because the final SMB insight via Borrell is this (paraphrased):

  • Now…if you can help me with my marketing strategy, I”ll reward you with my loyalty

Yes, you say, I’m baaaack!

Well, not so fast compadre.

You see, in order to be a legit marketing strategy consultant, you need a few weapons in your arsenal, a few attributes in your DNA. A few life experiences from which to draw.

You need what I like to call “The 4Ps of Marketing Know How:”

  1. A deep understanding of marketing PRINCIPLES
  2. A proven, repeatable and (hopefully) proprietary PROCESS
  3. A history of PRACTICE drawing from these things, and
  4. A strong POINT OF VIEW

That last P is usually the first one in my lineup but I’m closing with it here because I want to drive this particular point home.

Because as I said in that LinkedIn post, I believe the most important trait you must possess today is the ability to challenge bad strategies and promote and prescribe the good ones.

And for that, you need to bring a strong Point of View, especially in the digitally-enabled, short-term-only, tactics-before-strategy world in which we now advise.

Just the other day I caught this post from a strategic marketer who acknowledged that it’s a lot easier to “go along to get along” when it comes providing marketing advice these days (in his case as an agency serving a Chief Marketing Officer):

POV. Point-of-View. Informed opinion. Driven by your insatiable curiosity. Seeking out and absorbing a variety of views from a variety of thought leaders. Following through on reading assignments like the ones I handed out in this post.  

That’s what your clients really want from you. Because marketing is a complex, abstract exercise. And you need to be their sherpa marketing guide.

I know.  It ain’t easy. Especially given “marketing’s dirty little secret” as recently articulated by a legendary marketer who’s worked for many of the biggest brands in the world:

And that, my friend, is your job.

To plow head-on through the client confusion and dysfunction and deliver a marketing strategy that will deliver them long-term, sustainable growth, grounded in a solid POV.

Because if you work in local media sales today….what’s the point…if you don’t have a point-of-view.