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thomas delorme

Anyone else had similar experiences?

you kidding ?
when reading it felt like i actually wrote this.


You probably did - Alex is clever at 're-purposing' other people's work as his...


You know we've all been there - be interesting to hear this from a media perspective I guess.

Andrew Douglas

As a media owner I find it an impossible conundrum to fathom out why sales people would work like this. Surely by offering these types of discounts you’re - 1) Not confident in your product or 2) Over priced in the first place. This isn't to say we don't discount ever but when we do it's based around value and volume.
If I did work on the agency side I wouldn't have much confidence in the types of media owners who conduct business like this and in that case should you be pushing their products? The analogy I would use is that I never buy discounted fruit because generally it's the left-over’s and about to go off, it often leaves a bitter taste!
On the other hand I have dealt with some rather unscrupulous agencies also. In the long run you always do long term business with those can you trust and respect. You do have a choice whether to push their services to clients in the future......that’s a scary prospect for media owners and something to bear in mind when the ‘discounting issue’ raises it’s head.

John Whitehurst

I could not of put it better myself. I have worked on the media and agency side and i have seen this a lot - it is a sign of poor sales people with no integrity.

Michelle Myers

I think the view that the agency is a paragon of virtue ceaselessly pushing online in conjunction with and for the benefit of dodgy sales reps is a horrible misrepresentation of the actual situation. Let me declare my interests – I am Head of Digital at Stafford Long but used to rep to ad agencies and, as such, I feel I can voice the true belief of many media owners without thinking I am upsetting the very people I am selling to.

Do we not expect too much from sales reps who have massive targets? How can we get hacked off when they don’t drop their prices to rock bottom as soon as asked? Of course there are always going to be negotiations because, although we can talk about ‘working together’ as much as we like, someone’s commission ultimately rests on it. You wouldn’t drop the price of your house or car to the very least you are willing to accept on the first offer would you?

It is clearly not always the case that it is the sales rep who is in the wrong – you have to take into account the fact that sometimes the agency goes against the job board and, after a good sales pitch from the job board, the agency gets in the way and “screws” over the rep. Obviously this is in the name of ‘best advice’ but you can’t expect a sales person to accept that and no longer go after the business. Most agencies have a reputation for favouring certain job boards irrelevant of the subtleties of roles – and not all of this is based on fantastic media planning – factors such as personal relationships and bias do sometimes affect things.

As for the 15% if you don’t go through the agency – there are, I’m sure, incidents of this occurring but increasingly it’s an urban myth. Each case should be judged in isolation - Is this business a sales rep has been working on with an account manager? Or one where the agency has had nothing to do with it but expect the booking to automatically go through them?

What gets the back up of sales reps is when the agency has a pretty shoddy record at aiding the sales process – in fact the agency can actually suggest against the sale or more typically the proposal sits idle in their inbox for ages – but still want their 15% cut if it goes ahead.

To be clear most people who use this blog share the concerted objective of driving clients online and growing this market for all our benefit – and I think we do a lot more things right than wrong but lets not ignore the large percentage of agency Account Managers who still don’t ‘get’ online and cause as many of these problems as unprofessional sales execs.

Ciaran O'Sullivan

I was an media agency rep for some years and if any of my team made a direct call or even rang my agency contacts, I'd shout allot and puff out my chest. Sometimes media sales reps may be getting pressure from above but it's all about standing your ground and protecting your relationships. They take a long time to build and can be knocked down with ease. End of the month targets are always going to promote undesirable activity and I understand the frustrations and pressures the media have. However, it's only when you join the agency side of things do you truly understand both side of the coin!


I'm not sure if I'm missing something here, but I think this string was originally created to discuss those sites that we are working with on a regular basis and, we would hope, have a strong Agency/media relationship.

I agree that there are a lot of people out there who still really don't quite understand - but I think the frustration is more borne out of being told one thing direct by our rep, and then having someone on a direct sell offering substantial discounts to close the deal.

Absolutely understand that people are targeted, and want to hit these targets, but all we are asking is for consistency.

It is fair to say that most of us understand the value of the medium we work in - a value that is often still mis-represented - and positioned as 'cheaper than print'. We strive to push this through to our clients.

And you know, we don't always recommend everyone. And I don't think that's a bad thing. Often, when a request goes out, the quality of information provided in response varies massively. The better sites clearly attempt to 'address the brief'. They are often the sites that will receive our backing as they have attempted to deliver on-brief. But, you know, it's difficult to push a site where the proposal is so hap-hazzard - something that has clearly just been regurgitated - or simply not providing what we have asked for.

Constantly we hear that 'Agencies slow the process down' or 'Agencies don't get it'.

This is nothing new - we were debating this 4 years ago - and the argument still remains.

Yes, we probably do slow the process down. We don't always book what is a 'great deal' with site X. And the reason? We have to offer best advice to our clients - based on the whole market - and not just the one proposal.

A direct sell is, I suspect, far quicker, and far easier. But is it what is right for the client? Not always.

I think we all understand the pressure that our friends in the media are under. And you know, we know why we're sometimes undercut on a direct deal. But, it doesn't make it right. And I think that's more the point here - we are here to help our clients AND help our colleagues in the media - by offering quality, appropriate advice and solutions. Not the solution that was cheapest/best value for money. Advice that will hopefully result in a longer term relationship, rather than a one-off 'hit'.

Michelle Myers

Ben – Your post strikes a slightly patronising view that I didn’t understand the original post and needed you to explain it to me better!

This particular thread was entitled ‘When media reps talk with forked tongue’(!) and was a slightly damning representation of the behaviour of some (I am assuming not many) media reps. I am not disagreeing with the theory behind what Alex is saying, or even that in these situations it wouldn’t really tick me off, just that agencies need to take their share of the responsibility for why reps do these things in the first place.

Your point was that agencies do not recommend all media to their clients – absolutely right and neither should we. My point was – you can’t expect a media rep at this point to hold their hands up and say ‘OK, the agency feel we are not best fit, therefore we’ll take our business elsewhere’. Not likely is it? BUT sometimes when the media do persist with a client even when they have been thrown out of the recommendations and do happen to succeed in securing the business the agency is still there waiting for their 15%. I am merely suggesting this is a point at which a rep can be forgiven for “undercutting” the agency.

The discussion of proposals coming in on and off brief is a good point - surely this requires a thread on its own?


Hey Michelle - apologies if it came across that way - wasn't trying to be patronising, was just trying to clarify what the problem we experience is.

The example you site here is something that I can't see most people having a real issue with. I don't think that was the point being made.

I think the issue is when we are told 'we don't discount any more' - full stop - and so we base our proposal on that, and for whatever reason the client decides to go with an alternative that offers them more value for money - which IS often the case, and then, a direct sales rep (often nothing to do with our rep) contacts the client direct, they drop their pants on cost and inventory. Which puts us in a hugely compromised position.

We have acted on good faith, and gone with what we have been told, and then are simply undercut with a direct sell that totally goes against what we've just been told.

You must experience that.

And that is I think what is being debated here - not necessarily 'our' reps, but more the actual media itself.

Anyway, it's home time now. And I am feeling quite delicate/fragile today - and I didn't even go to the OnRec Awards last night - so I must adjourn to my bed...

Michelle Myers

Hi Ben.
I do understand what you’re saying – I really do - but I can’t help thinking there is something missing in your argument.

What you’re saying is you're in discussions with your client and a proposal has been sent that you feel has been negotiated right to the bottom with your rep. You are working hard to get this proposal signed off at that cost when, suddenly, the job board direct team swoop in and offer your client a better deal to go direct – a cheaper deal.

I know these things have happened but its a small area and mainly needs to be treated on a case by case basis - where is the benefit to the job board here? They are losing money.

The bigger issue which we are eluding to - is the websites dealing directly with the clients and bypassing the agencies and isn’t that due to the reality that the job boards doing this MUST feel they can’t trust the agency to get this deal – or that they will take forever to do it?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some honest comments from the media on this topic as to if and why this happens? Maybe then agencies can do more to prevent it.

Right, I'm now winding my neck in.

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