Inventory Management vs Sales Data
I have noticed that when I first engage with a client, their ad sales management usually has some gray areas. Most of the efforts and business processes are put in place to minimize errors and one of them is the inventory management. Ad servers, traffic systems, print production systems, event planning and booking systems, among others, all have information about available inventory as their primary output, and that data must be shared with the sales team quickly, accurately and must be updated as needed. If those systems are really robust (and usually very expensive) they can even provide accurate ways to optimize their inventory, leading to greater revenues, right?
Well, that is one side of the coin. What you are really doing by focusing on inventory is giving the ad sales team an accurate view of what is available so the bidding starts. By optimizing that inventory with certain tools, you are affecting rates, impressions delivery effectiveness and ultimately, your margins. We can use the example of a mail order catalog, we are ensuring that the catalog has the most updated list of the items we are selling, that they are all available and we are also ensuring we are selling each item for the best possible price. All this work needs to be complemented with a study about which items are sold most out of our catalog and which ones do not sell, who buys them and who does not, where are they bought. Without this information we are creating this great product and inventory management tool but can only be so effective if we don’t know our market or, analyze our history and performance.
So while accurate inventory reporting is vital, we need to supplement that with sales data. Which types of ads have been the most effective? How does that effectiveness vary by media type or property? What types of clients are buying on what type of media outlets? Who is buying our subscriptions? Which agencies have been most productive across the different media types? Get answers to some of those questions and you will get a lot more revenue from that accurate inventory. That is one less gray are in our quest to provide a more holistic vision of the ad sales process.