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7 ways to sell a digital idea to a traditional executive

7 ways to sell a digital idea to a traditional executive Daniel Gergely

Many agency professionals have experienced painful and expensive pitch processes where you are asked to qualify your agency's "creative chops." Clients will ask for your most creative ideas since they need an agency to "take them to the next level creatively." However, there are still many marketing executives and brand managers who are intimidated by truly innovative campaigns. Blind faith is not enough to sell-in your idea of a unique digital campaign.

7 ways to sell a digital idea to a traditional executive

I've experienced this countless times and have had enough failures to develop a simple list of what can help you sell a kick-ass digital idea to your traditional marketing executive. Take a look, and I'd love it if you, the reader, would add some suggestions in the comments section.

Prime the clients

Selling a client on a creative idea needs to start before the actual meeting. This holds true with traditional creative, but within digital it's even more important. People are both awestruck and frightened by technology. Show clients what's new and trending in the world of social and digital media, and they will become more comfortable with the medium and your idea. This isn't difficult. Ask one of your team members to browse sites like Reddit, The VergeBuzzFeed, and PSFK to inform your entire team on what is new and exciting.

Actually talk to your media partners

I know. Sometimes this can be difficult. Both you and your media team need to understand the importance of digital within your flowchart. Even more important is the understanding that digital and traditional media will play off of each other. Cross-platform integration is the buzz-phrase that ad peeps like to use. Make sure you have someone on your media team that actually understands digital and how your target audience uses the medium. Also be sure that your media team members have the proper measurement tools and know the landscape of the digital world. If you see that they don't, call them out. Once everyone is aligned, you will have a much easier time selling a creative idea and its placement to your client.

Provide case studies

We are not all ultra-large agencies that create viral videos to substantiate the creation of a campaign, like Dove's "Evolution of Beauty" viral videos that coincided with Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" advertisement. The rest of us need to show examples of how we have previously kicked ass in a digital campaign. If you have already presented your agency's case studies during your pitch, showcase recent examples from other brands and agencies. Don't know where to find such campaigns? Let me help you.

Know your clients

Specifically, know their limitations. Some clients have no clue what a wire-frame or other similar terms mean. Knowledge of their competencies within digital will allow you to both impress them and not insult them. This will also drive how you will explain and dictate the overall process. A client with more digital know-how will likely want to be more involved in the minutia of the campaign's development, while a client who doesn't will trust the agency to fly solo. Be sure to understand how your client wants to approach the process of your digital campaign development early on.

Understand the competitive landscape

This goes beyond checking out the "likes" and followers brands have on social media. Review the tone of competitors' creative, and understand how and why competitors have been successful. I love using Google Trends and seeing whether there were any digital campaigns that caused a lift in searches. Comparing the success of one brand versus another can provide a measure of success that goes beyond tracking sales, "likes," and followers. Showing proof of success from one of your competitor's creative ideas will likely make your client more receptive to yours.

Show it's a safer bet

Many clients have a fear of the unknown when it comes to digital. Try to eliminate this fear by explaining, from the onset, exactly how measurable your campaign is and how your message can be tailored to its performance. This means creating different creative when developing banner and rich media ads. Constantly monitor each ad's performance against predetermined KPIs and substitute poor performing ones.

Shake them

OK, don't really shake them. Trust me, I've tried it. Contrary to what I believed, cash doesn't fall out of them when you do this. What I mean by "shake them" is inform clients of the danger of evolving too slowly. Show them examples of brands that were slow to pull the trigger and paid the price in the long run.

Daniel Gergely is the director of business development at Wing.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"A cartoon boss wit a grumpy expression" and "from idea to success" images via Shutterstock.

Born to Argentinian parents, Daniel was raised in Washington D.C. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he worked in various communication fields (radio, written press, TV channels) before moving to New York City, where he started...

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