As a broadcast media salesperson, you likely don’t have a vertical focus. Your potential customers are any companies that want to buy local advertising for any reason. That’s a wide net, and it’s a good practice to have familiarity with all. Becoming an industry expert in a few of these fields can deliver many benefits.

The more knowledge you have in industries that have a healthy market in your area, the more advantage you have over less experienced advertising salespeople. When you come to the table with focused insights, it’s going to stand out. Your advertisers no longer see you as a salesperson; they begin to consider you a strategic partner. It’s not just a transactional relationship. It’s one built on value exchange, and it’s likely to last longer and deliver more revenue for you and greater ROAS (return on ad spend) for your customers.

So, how do you go about becoming an industry expert? We’ve got tips and strategies to share with you.


The Journey to Becoming an Industry Expert

If you’re just formulating a plan to become an expert in specific fields, you’ll want to start with assessing the options. Here are some parameters to consider.

What verticals in your area have a large presence? 

Think beyond the major players in the field, and evaluate the competitive landscape. Is your metro area or state a center for a particular industry outside of those with many sellers (i.e., local retail, restaurants, field services, car dealerships, etc.)?

For example, many cities are tourist destinations with attractions and other hospitality-centric businesses. Another could be health care, as many metro areas have numerous competing providers. Also, look outside traditional care delivery to consider telehealth, which grew immensely during the pandemic.

Try to identify at least three industries with a deeper market. Some of those could be the general ones noted above, but one should be a more distinct industry. You should choose these based on opportunity, but if you have pre-existing experience, that’s always a plus!

What industries are “emerging” in your area?

New types of advertisers don’t happen often, but they still do. Remember how Uber and Airbnb came out of nowhere and disrupted their industries? There are likely some of these incubating right now.

One of the hot ones on the minds of many broadcast media sellers is online sports betting. It is making a significant mark for local linear TV and radio because it’s only legal in certain states. Also, most digital platforms don’t allow this advertising, and OTA (over the air) is coming up as a big winner.

BIA Advisory Services called online sports betting advertising a significant driver in its 2022 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast. The report projected that the category would grow 44.9% from 2021 to 2022, rating it the largest growth for any sub-vertical. The expected total is $1.59 billion, with TV OTA getting 34.4% and radio OTA another 9.8%.

Some other emerging markets worth investigating include:

  • Esports, which was worth $1.08 billion in 2021 and is creating events and excitement in metro areas like Dallas (home of the largest esports stadium) and Las Vegas (home to the first esports arena)
  • Plant-based products and retailers, which continue to grow due to changing consumer behaviors
  • Micromobility sharing with electric scooters, bikes and other vehicles, which is becoming popular in densely populated cities that need other means of transportation

In addition to these examples, ask yourself:

  • Have new companies moved to or launched in my area?
  • How has the pandemic shaped the industry makeup of my area?

Building Your Industry Knowledge

After you determine the industries to specialize in, it’s time to start becoming an expert. Here are some tips for doing this well:

  • Subscribe to industry publications and podcasts.
  • Follow the leading players you want to target to understand their business model, advertising habits, ad spending, target markets and other vital components.
  • Attend local industry events to make connections.
  • Join an in-person or online industry networking group. (Pro tip: LinkedIn and Facebook have groups for basically any industry.)
  • Look for benchmark reports on the industry regarding digital advertising metrics like click-through rate (CTR), customer acquisition costs (CAC), cost per click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPI). (Pro tip: eMarketer is an excellent source for this!)
  • Document what you learn regularly, and use it to create a prospecting plan.
  • Share content and information on your social media profiles regarding the industry to demonstrate thought leadership. (Pro tip: If social selling, sending a prospect a recent compelling article via LinkedIn is a great icebreaker.)

Deliver Your Expertise in the Pitch

Building your knowledge won’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process. When you amass all this information, you will be better prepared when you finally get your meeting. That’s where you’ll show your true value to the advertiser.

You’ll be walking in with a personalized proposal based on what’s happening in the industry, the business’ budget, the highest performing tactics (OTA and digital) and other data points. You’ll be able to talk their talk. Be sure to add in some commentary on the latest trends as further proof you know how the vertical ticks.

You’ll also be able to map out their customer journey and align it to advertising channels. The work you put into learning now will be the difference when it’s time for advertisers to make buying decisions. Plus, they can get linear and digital from you in an integrated campaign.

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