Filed under: ad sales

Mad Men & Media Sales

I am a huge fan of the TV show Mad Men. It’s been running for 7 seasons and the series finale just aired on May 17th. For me, the combination of finely drawn characters, complex relationships, and a look at the advertising environment of the 1960s was the perfect television cocktail (no pun intended).

One of the pervasive themes of Mad Men is the ability of advertising professionals to sell a product, any product, with just the right positioning. Early in the series run, Don Draper (the lead ad man character) is charged with saving the business of a top client, Lucky Strike tobacco, after some dire research is released on the dangers of smoking. Don realizes that he needs to “change the conversation”- in other words, associate Lucky Strike with something OTHER than a fatal disease. He finally comes up with a new tagline- “Lucky Strike. It’s toasted”. The Lucky Strike execs balk, saying all tobacco is toasted. It’s just part of the process of curing tobacco.

“No”, Don says, “all other tobacco causes cancer. YOURS is toasted”.

Now, we all know that cigarettes are one of the biggest health hazards we face, and I certainly don’t condone marketing tobacco! However, there are some great lessons on sales in this Mad Men plot:

  1. Always focus on the benefit: Don knew that Lucky Strike needed a unique benefit, in order to separate themselves from the doom and gloom surrounding their industry. Toasting was just a regular part of the production process, but in positioning it as a benefit specific to Lucky Strike, he created a new and attractive selling point to build a sales story around.
  2. As a sales professional, before you focus on your product (in the case of media sales, your print publication or e-newsletter, for example), you need to understand your customer. Don knew that smokers would be fearful of continuing with their habit, and he worked to develop a message that would allay their fears by highlighting a new aspect of the product. When selling advertising, it is paramount to ask questions and truly understand a potential advertisers successes, challenges and overall goals before positioning a product.

It always amazes me that there are sales lessons to be had everywhere we look! Network Media Partners will be presenting a session on advertising sales at the upcoming Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting. We hope you can join us to learn more about advertising sales best practices!

Leave a Comment May 19, 2015

Associations are leveraging sponsored content. Are you ready?

Last week AM&P gathered association professionals for its popular Lunch & Learn series in Washington D.C., where all eyes were on current trends related to sponsored content and native advertising. Network’s very own Carrie Hartin was one of the two co-presenters focused on the larger topic of sponsored content. She walked attendees through some ideas and considerations related to native advertising.

Here is a view into some of the popular conversations that emerged during the session:

  • What does sponsored content mean for your organization relative to your trusted relationship with members and readers?
  • Will sponsored content detract from what your organization is already providing?
  • Will sponsored content compete with or complement what your organization is already selling?

Are you struggling with these questions too? If so, you are not alone and there is some good news- read on!

Here are what a few attendees had to say via Twitter:



There are a number of ways that organizations can integrate sponsored content while still maintaining the trusted relationship with their readers and making it clear if it is sponsored content. By design, native advertising is meant to be less disruptive than traditional display advertising. When associations leverage sponsored content, the goal is for the sponsored content to provide timely, relevant, and valuable information to the audience. This practice aligns with the way businesses are developing content to build and maintain a relationship with a customer or prospect.

Carrie and her co-presenter, Mike Winkleman, President and Chief Creative Officer of Leverage Media will be presenting their popular session again in Chicago on March 31st as part of the AM&P series and there is still time to register.

Interested to learn how your association can build, market, and increase revenue through native advertising? Contact Carrie Hartin at

Leave a Comment March 30, 2015

Perspective from a “New-Bee” at ASAE (buzz, buzz)

Network Media Partners exhibited at The ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition for the first time just a few weeks ago. We had a great first experience in Nashville meeting with current clients and potential new ones at our booth, attending education sessions, and heading out to the (many) networking events!

This was my first Annual Meeting, as both an exhibitor and attendee, and ASAE did a great job of helping me navigate the conference. They designated us first-timers as “new-bees” and created a meeting spot for us in Nashville’s Music City Center called “The Hive”.  Catchy!

Not every conference puts this attention to detail on the new folks, so here are my lessons learned as the “new-bee” for those that need help navigating on their own:

1. Have a Plan:

Heading to an annual meeting, conference, or convention for the first time can be overwhelming, especially when it’s the size of ASAE. It’s important to have a plan! Spending time on the event website or mobile app will help you get a lay of the land and pick a few must-dos. I identified one education session I wanted to attend each day, which gave my schedule each day some structure. By only choosing one must-do, it also gave me the flexibility to listen to where other folks were headed.

As an exhibitor, this becomes even more important as it is likely that your non-expo time is limited. Reach out to clients and prospects before the show and invite them to stop by your booth or schedule time to grab a coffee outside of the hall.

2. Don’t Skip the Networking Events:

Whether it’s stopping by an on-site lounge (like The Hive for first time attendees) or attending a post-show reception, there are many learning and engagement opportunities outside of the expo hall and educations sessions. Attending events gives you the opportunity to build connections with colleagues and peers outside of the traditional business setting of the conference. Prepare yourself for a long day and don’t skip the networking events (or the coffee).

3. Keep it Going:

You just spent 4 action-packed days away from the office – you met tons of new people, and filled your notebook with great ideas from education sessions. Now what? Keep it going!

Did you meet a few people with whom you developed a great connection? Find them on LinkedIn and connect. Did you attend an education session that had you scribbling ideas (or taking pictures of the slides if you’re like me)? Share that session with your team, subscribe to an e-newsletter, or event just bookmark their website or blog for future reading.

Keep the networking and learning going after the event has ended and you’ll feel like those 4 days out of the office were worth the overflowing email inbox.

Did you attend or exhibit at ASAE? Is there a piece of feedback you’d give to a first timer? Leave it in the comments!

Brittany Shoul,  Sales Manager,  Network Media Partners.

Leave a Comment August 27, 2014

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