In our first post in this series, we explored the starting point for a successful transformation to digital advertising: developing a vision and engaging employees effectively to prepare for change. Next, we take a look at steps to consider in creating a digital product suite to ensure success and future growth.

Once you have defined your vision for digital advertising and have made plans to help your employees embrace the change, it is time to build out your product offering. Creating and launching the ideal mix of owned and operated (O&O) and third-party digital products requires a solid business strategy, and it all begins with understanding the value of your current digital product offerings. From there, you can select complementary digital media inventory geared toward expanding your unique position in the marketplace. Before your sales team hits the streets with the new products, it is critical to build business operations that ensure the best customer experience — one that will lead to the repeat business and renewals to make your digital business thrive.


Here are five key steps toward accomplishing these goals:

1. Assess and Value Your Owned and Operated Inventory

First, you will need to perform a bottom-up analysis of your owned and operated digital inventory, including each product, its availability, rate and sell-through numbers. A good question to consider: At a 100% sell-out rate, how much would your current digital revenue inventory generate? The goal is to bring in complementary digital products that will add scale to the inventory your staff is already selling successfully.


2. Select Third-Party Digital Products

Third-party digital inventory includes a number of categories, such as display ads, video advertising, geofencing, OTT video advertising and mobile messaging, to name a few. Once you’re familiar with these, it’s time to secure a vendor to deliver them. As you evaluate digital inventory vendors, try to answer these questions: What internal operations do you need to successfully deliver the inventory you select? Why would an advertiser buy your inventory over a competitor’s? How will training, selling and executing the digital inventory work?


3. Determine Digital Creative Execution

At minimum, digital inventory will require two types of creative assets: display ads (also known as banner ads) and video ads. Some advertisers have their own creative, but the majority of local advertisers need help developing their creative assets for digital campaigns. To meet this requirement, you can hire in-house creative talent, which requires a significant investment in both time and money but gives you maximum control. A more cost-effective option is to outsource digital asset creation to an external agency. (Check with Marketron for some outsourcing options and resources.)


4. Set Up Order Entry and Reporting

Order entry may seem like a fundamental element of sales, but in many cases, existing systems are not robust enough to traffic digital orders. It is essential to ensure that entering an order is as easy as possible for salespeople and detailed enough to deliver an ad campaign accurately.


5. Define the Invoicing Process

You should be able to use your current financial system to invoice digital third-party inventory, but it’s important to know how digital orders will be invoiced well in advance. Each invoice should simplify products and pricing to give advertisers a clear understanding of what they purchased. Advertisers that require performance detail on their campaigns will need a custom invoice that combines your financial invoice with the third-party performance reporting. That requires accurate alignment of product names, pricing and performance with the third-party systems.


Digital Transformation Playbook

At Marketron, we stand ready to help you navigate the challenges of the digital transformation and build a sophisticated and successful inventory of products, together with properly structured internal operations. We have created a valuable resource to help any broadcaster assemble the tools and best practices needed for a successful digital advertising program.

Check out the Digital Transformation Playbook, an exclusive e-book offering a detailed step-by-step guide for broadcasters to grow digital advertising revenue.

Radio’s Digital Transformation Webinar Series – Part 2

Watch the on-demand webinar for Part 2 of the Radio’s Digital Transformation series, where we discuss what areas you should focus on to determine your best digital product suite and how to integrate these new tactics into your business operations.