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What to Do When The Media Increases Your Advertising Rates

Posted by dodgeadmin on January 14, 2017 3:41 pm

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If you’ve been in the advertising game for a while, you’ve probably gotten this phone call or email before, the one where your media sales rep sheepishly asks you to start paying more for advertising in the program or space you’ve been in for years.

More often than not, your rep will cite some startling new research about audience growth. Broadcasters love to paper the town with one-sheets proclaiming their dominance in this demo or that whenever Nielsen research comes out. Other times they will just tell you that management has instituted the advertising rate increase without warning.

Regardless of the reason, your media partner has decided it’s time for you to pay more for what you’ve been getting, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it. We’ve faced this situation many times over the years and have some tips on what to do when the news comes down.

DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL right away.

While a rate increase is certainly not welcome – usually it’s downright annoying – you should resist the urge to blow up at your ad rep, especially one you’ve worked with for years. They do not like these conversations any more than you do. Rate increases disrupt their relationships with clients, spurring awkward, sometimes confrontational, exchanges that can lead to prolonged negotiations. If there’s a time and a place to get nasty, it’s not during that first meeting with your rep.

The best thing to do is keep your cool and listen carefully as he or she explains the reasons behind the increase. Are they offering additional value? Something that will result in a measurable boost to your results? It’s important to note that a spike in ratings does not necessarily equate to a better value for advertisers. Long term trends matter when it comes to audience delivery.

Once you hear the explanation, politely conclude the meeting without indicating what your plans are. The rep will want to know that you will remain a loyal customer. Don’t give him or her any such assurance. You need time to think things through, and, depending on how the negotiation goes, you may no longer be a loyal customer when it’s all over.


Before charging to the phone to talk his or her supervisors, take a few minutes to evaluate your negotiating position. How much do they need you, and how much do you need them? Your history with the media partner, as well as their strengths and weaknesses in the market, will impact your ability to negotiate.

  • Type of medium – This is a key consideration. If you are dealing with a digital media company with national or global reach, you are probably small potatoes to them. They can afford to lose your business. On the other hand, if the rate increase is coming from a local newspaper, radio or TV station, you may have more leverage.
  • Financial health of medium – It’s no secret that traditional media outlets, like newspapers and broadcasters, are not as strong as they once were. If your sales rep frequently shows up at your door with some “deal of the day,” chances are good their parent company will be reluctant to lose advertisers over a rate increase.
  • How much you spend – Are you a top tier advertiser, or a small client who buys a short schedule once a year? I’m not trying to minimize your investment you make – every dollar invested is your hard earned money – but a larger advertiser obviously carries more clout at the negotiating table.
  • Advertising history – How much you spend matters a great deal, but your history with the medium sometimes matters even more. Do you have a long history of business that includes timely payments? Have you sponsored their charitable events on occasion? Local media are often willing to bend a little on rates if you’ve proven to be a good business partner over the years.

When you have a clear sense of what your media partner’s position is, as well as your own, you will be in a much better position to negotiate your way out of paying more. Check out our second part of this series, where we explore how to stop an advertising rate increase.

Check out our second part of this series, where we explore how to stop an advertising rate increase.

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Topic: Advertising ,Advertising Rates ,media

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