Hospitality and the media buyer

 Liam Walsh writes: An agency principal whom I like and respect told me recently that we don’t take them on enough trips like cooking classes. That our second biggest competitor wipes the floor with us on the hospitality front.I would tent to agree with their observations on this front.

It is by no means a uniquely digital phenomena however it is an important issue to digital as it affects revenue distribution.

As media buyers go to great trouble to point out there are now hundreds of buying points. Personally I find ‘buying point’ a step up from supplierJ . Though I don’t seriously countenance the assertion there are 260 publishers as claimed by some buyers.

With so much choice and so much excess supply chasing too little demand, hospitality becomes extremely powerful.

After all, it is human beings that make decisions on budget allocations. Hence a level of bias is always present. The question is the extent to which this happens in an industry where too many players are chasing too few dollars. Where points of differentiation are ambiguous as benchmarks have not been well defined.

I would love to complain about it however it has favoured our business as much as it has harmed us.

The question needs to be asked at the industry level. The reason is that digital media is a rapidly growing sector of marketing that started from nothing and is still very thirsty to be treated more seriously. To be treated more seriously it needs to be less affected by the personal nature of some of the decision making.

Its been a while since we have had a poll so if anybody feels inclined please let us know what you think.

 Ben Shepherd writes: Personally I feel hospitality is overrated … not sure what real impact it has on spend allocation but I guess it works for some groups who push the matter so aggressively (lets hang out!!!). If it’s offered and it’s an interesting way to spend a few hours – and it doesn’t get in the way of doing actual work – sometimes it’s something you do. Look, you’d hate to think that budgets are won and lost in this way …

Regardless, it’s not a great reflection of the industry if hospitality is the point of difference for the suppliers/publishers etc. No doubt in some cases it is – and this isn’t isolated to digital … but geeez, if the thing that makes you stand out from the competition is that you take more agency buyers out on the piss than your competitors then you might want to start thinking about your business a little harder.

260 publishers!! Ermm … not sure about that claim. Maybe in the US (I think 260 ad networks started today alone in the US …) but not here.

Want my advice … Publishers should start taking out more clients – it’s a far more powerful way to influence the people whose decisions matter. Just maybe bring more to the table than a free meal and ‘can we have some money’?


3 responses to “Hospitality and the media buyer

  1. Pingback: How much hospitality should media agencies be offered? (And how much should they accept?) « mUmBRELLA

  2. Being in the buying side, I know that there is many in the industry who take a lot of prestige and pride for some in getting the invite to specific events. This is especially true in the larger media agencies where only the ‘decision makers’ are asked to go. So not only is it a matter of enjoyment it’s also an ego rub.

  3. Over worked, underpaid media buyers will allow their stomachs to dictate the shape of the media plan until accurate tools are developed to do it for them – and then they will be out of a job anyway.

    In these hard economic times, media/ client/ publisher relationships are ever more important as clients push their agencies harder, agency folk cling on to their jobs and publishers chase the increasing elusive dollar signs.

    With gloom and doom all around – aren’t we all in need of a few free lunches?

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