National Director of Digital Brand Strategy
Interviewed by Deb Shaw, Editor, Local Media Today
Q. Tell us about 2060 Digital and the innovative process that led to its creation.
A. 2060 Digital’s roots stem back to 2009 when the Cincinnati radio cluster started offering Social Media Management to its radio customers. Looking back, this was a very bold move as Facebook and Twitter were fledging companies at the time. There were many more established digital services they could have offered, but this seemed like the most natural fit for a radio company, and so far, it was a great place to start.
Q. Can you give us some insight into the scope of digital services delivered by 2060 Digital? What’s hot?
A. We like to sell holistic, long term digital campaigns that follow the customer’s path to purchase. The goal is to use digital products and services that start by attracting a targeted group and ends with those customers becoming advocates singing the praises of our clients. To accomplish this we deploy an arsenal of digital products from websites to email and everything in between. 2060 Digital is a Google Premier Partner so we are always high on what Google can do for our clients including innovations in AdWords, Display, and YouTube. “Hot” for us is a successful campaign and happy clients!
Q. You were a presenter at the recent LMA/Borrell Associates Digital Agency summit and attendees really liked your sales structure and in particular, the expectation that all account executives set two qualified appointments per month. Can you tell us about your structure and elaborate about the appointment setting quota and process?
A. We believe in pipeline management vs. sales management.
The biggest difference between the two is the relentless management of activity vs. closed sales. If the activity is consistent a percentage of “sales” becomes not only inevitable, but it is predictable so basically we are creating a controlled sales environment.
The start of this activity management is each account executive setting two new qualified digital appointments per month. It’s a paradigm shift for most sales teams and management as they have historically been “judged” by sales quotas. But, with digital being a complimentary service to the primary media product we feel it takes some pressure off the sales team as we launched and now allows for consistent growth.
Q. You said that the digital brand strategist (DBS) is the lynchpin hire for your agency. What is their primary responsibility and why is this a key hire?
A. The primary responsibility of the Digital Brand Strategist is to be the digital expert in the room. The Digital Brand Strategist is on every initial digital sales call our AE’s set. Their job in the meeting is to educate the client about digital first, and then strategy. Many times we are educating the client about something they have purchased from another company and will continue buying from the competitor, but they really did not understand what it was, and we are perfectly fine with helping them. The secondary responsibility of the DBS, along with our team of Digital Campaign Strategists, is to be a marketing strategy consultant. They work with clients analyzing the marketing strategies the client is utilizing to grow their business, and mesh how digital can enhance and drive better results.
We could not figure out how to keep AE’s trained to the point of being a trusted digital advisor to our clients with the ever changing digital climate. We believe that having a highly-trained DBS on staff is far less expensive than the constant training of both established and new AE’s to the level of expertise.
Q. At 2060 Digital, 40% of next year’s revenue is already booked. How are you able to keep churn low and recurring revenue high?
A. The ability to be able to book revenue into the coming year and to have low-churn, recurring revenue is really the result of three components coming together.
It’s a simple math problem, if you sell a 12-month contract in October you have 10-months of revenue booked into the coming year. We believe it is the DBS educating the client that is at the root of our success with getting these long term contracts.
The consistency of the two appointments every month from the AE yields predictable new sales revenue.
Hubbard has made a significant, long-term investment into a well-staffed campaign management team who launches, manages, maintains, and continuously works with our clients.
Q. What are the key drivers to your growth trajectory?
A. As described earlier our revenue forecasts are fairly consistent due to our model. However, we are seeing a lot of clients who have been “burnt” by inexperienced media AE’s selling them something that did not work. Because of our ability to sell more like an agency than a media company offering digital products on a Price List, we anticipate even faster growth as we clean up some messes.
Q. What was your biggest take-away from the recent LMA/Borrell Digital Agency Summit?
A. More questions, than answers.
Q. Tell us more about 2060 Digital’s three tenets: “Educate, don’t sell; offer long-term, holistic campaigns; and sell only what we’d sell our Grandma’s.”
A. We discussed a lot about the first two, so I will talk about the third; only sell what you would sell your Grandma. When I was a Vice-President of Marketing for a large private held company, my boss/mentor put it a different way, “If it was your money, would you spend it this way (because it was literally his)?” Multiple times per day in our offices you will hear, “Would you sell that to your Grandma?” It’s a check to be sure we are doing something we believe will work for the client, not just to “sell” something. This is made much easier by having activity vs. revenue quotas. An unfortunate reality is “bad” sales happen when you are stressed to “close”. We don’t feel that daily stress, so we can take our time and sell what will work. We have walked away from our share of sales, as we refused to sell what was being asked of us because we wouldn’t sell it to our Grandma.
Q. Bright lights on please….what do you see coming down the road for digital services?
Q. I foresee a new dilemma around the corner, that being the continued rise of the local advertising agency selling digital services. This will offer an interesting paradox for many media companies to define who their actual client is. Is it the advertising agency who buys traditional media products or the SMB who the agency now wants to sell digital services to?
Q. With more years under your belt than most media companies who are in the digital services business you probably have had many ‘aha moments along the way. Can you share any hindsight wisdom for newcomers to this business? Tips for avoiding certain pitfalls and accelerating success?
A. Although it may sound like we have a much defined go-to-market and sales strategy, the truth is most markets, clusters, local management, and sales teams are very different. You need to be able to adjust your plan to each so you can reach your ultimate goal. It’s evolution, not revolution.
Q. What does Matt Chamberlin’s digital diet consist of these days? Any websites or podcasts that you especially enjoy for work or pleasure?
A. I have three daughters that are highly involved in lacrosse, and the best place for lacrosse coverage is The Lacrosse Network. TLN got its start as a YouTube channel and now has a great app. The hosts Colin and Samir are highly entertaining and the content delivered is innovative and well done. It’s the future of TV.