The Subtleties of Selling Out of Home

oOh!media Out of Home Shopping

Heading up an award-winning sales team at oOh!media, Sales Director Ben Gibb sits down with NZ Marketing for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of OOH in the time of Covid-19. He shares unique insight on where the industry is headed, the impact of new technologies such as programmatic and his winning sales philosophy.


Ben Gibb, Sales Director at oOh!media

What does winning the Sales Team of the Year at this year’s Beacon Awards mean to you and your team?

We were really proud to win the award, and it’s great to be recognised in this way for all the hard work and dedication the team put into it. They’ve done well through all of the integration process, while never forgetting the ultimate objective of delivering value to our customers.

Our key insight was that no matter what we did or said, if we couldn’t bring our teams together and create unity rapidly, then it would be difficult to provide exceptional service to clients. The award shows the success of the integration strategy and also the combined strengths of the two teams coming together.

By way of background, Adshel previously owned Out of Home (OOH) journeys in NZ through its street furniture network, while oOh!media owned point of purchase through a national network of advertising assets in retail environments. When these two areas were combined, the integration meant we now owned the journey and the destination, which gave us a simple and compelling proposition.

What is your approach/ philosophy when building your sales team internally?

For any sales team to be successful they must be customer focused but with the integration to navigate our core approach was to focus initially on the team itself, because a happy, motivated team delivers great customer service – and maintaining this was key to delivering on our business objectives. Put simply, we believed if we got team culture right, then commercial success would follow.

We worked very quickly to ensure the two teams came together to feel united as soon as possible. This included ensuring internal rebranding was completed within three months, moving the team under one roof, and focusing on training, including site tours, for all staff to be familiar with new products. Additionally, we created a buddy system between staff from both businesses and provided plenty of opportunities for staff to build a strong relationship by having monthly team lunches and community volunteer days.

We then focused on developing our customer-first market approach, establishing the new market positioning and market story for the united business, ensuring that we moved quickly on product training for the two teams to cross-sell and make the most of the benefits of the merger, while focusing on existing relationships and clients to ensure continuity and satisfaction during the period of change.

We also made sure that throughout the process there were well-defined and clear roles for everyone, so there were no unnecessary overlaps or misunderstandings about which people were accountable for which tasks.

What does it take to be an award-winning team?

We think there are three crucial factors involved in building an award-winning team:

  1. The first is never losing sight of the highest objective, which is to put our customers first, and always look to expand our customer offering and service.
  2. The second is having a strong and clearly articulated sales plan that everyone understands, and which guides the team’s behaviours both internally and externally in market.
  3. The third is having the ability to adapt quickly, and that applies to varying scenarios – not just a corporate integration projects, but also working your way through rapidly changing economic circumstances. Media is incredibly fast paced and ever-changing industry and to thrive individuals and teams have to be comfortable with change and be able to roll with the punches at times without losing direction or morale

What are some of the challenges your team face in our new Covid-19 reality?

Like many businesses here and around the world, we’ve had to adapt quickly to challenges created by the pandemic. Despite plenty of nervousness, we believe It’s important to still advertise and build your brand, even in a downturn. Brands that do this have historically been proven to come out the other side stronger, especially as other competitors get too risk-averse and delay or cancel campaigns, losing market share.

To that end we’ve been working very closely with clients and encouraging them not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even in an unexpected and historic crisis, there are ways to manage your marketing and advertising programs. For example, we can adapt campaigns to changing audiences by weighting them more to suburban rather than CBD areas, change the creative to match the times, and so on.

The general point is that audiences have still been out there, but moving around in different ways and changing their patterns of behaviour. It’s still been possible to reach them, and now the worst seems to be over in New Zealand we can adapt once again and move forward.

How is the NZ Out of Home industry currently placed in terms of sales?

We now have a lot of recent data pointing to a strong retail rebound, with consumer spending and confidence bouncing back. Large numbers of people have returned to normal life, and audience levels are pretty much back to where they were before the pandemic struck. As these audiences return, advertisers are following them, and using Out of Home campaigns to engage consumers across multiple assets.

Right now we’re seeing higher demand for digital screens, especially as some advertisers are booking relatively late for maximum flexibility. It’s a very competitive market with a strong emphasis on trading, which is understandable as brands attempt to recover ground lost in earlier in the year.

Behind the scenes, so to speak, clients are also demanding more proof points around effectiveness and ROI to prove what they’re doing is working. This is a predictable outcome of the current economic circumstances, but also part of a longer-term trend towards greater transparency around delivery and campaign effectiveness.

oOh!media Out of Home Street Furniture
oOh!media Street Furniture.

Are you seeing new business come into the OOH space?

There are definitely some changes in the market as a result of COVID-19. One trend compared to 2019 is a clear rise in utility and FMCG companies booking more space to leverage the benefits that Out of Home advertising delivers. The other is an increase in the public service and education categories, which is understandable at a time of community concern.

What are some of the trends we are seeing in the NZ OOH space?

One of the most important trends in our industry is the shift to an audience-led approach in the Out of Home space, in which oOh! is leading the way. This is driven by increasing sophistication in data collection, analysis and campaign planning, and complements the traditional location-focused approach. It gives customers the ability to accurately reach their key audiences while minimising duplication and maximising ROI.

Linked to this is greater mobile and multi-channel integration, which again relies on technological advances and creativity to drive campaigns in various formats – it’s a highly effective way of targeting audiences. 

Underlying these developments is the demonstrable value of Out of Home advertising when used in conjunction with other formats. Multimedia campaigns have a higher ROI than single media campaigns, according to research showing that a three-channel mix of TV, Digital and OOH gets the best ROI results by 27%.

How much of an impact is programmatic having on sales?

Programmatic is something that’s being talked about a lot, but hasn’t really landed in any meaningful way yet. For all of its potential, there are some hurdles the industry needs to get over first before this can scale up in the audience and technology space. It’s definitely a project for the future, and we’ll see how it develops.

What details of projects your team is currently working?

We have a new premium site at Quay St, Auckland – set to become one of the most impactful advertising locations in NZ, and one of our top 10 locations in the whole country. There’s over 48 square meters of space for advertisers to work with, and it has one of the highest combinations of vehicle, pedestrian and bus commuter traffic of any of our assets.

Beyond that, there are more developments in our oOh! Behavioural Target product that will allow clients to target specific audiences based on their real work behaviours – we’d encourage people to get in touch with us directly about that to find out more.

David Nothling-Demmer

About David Nothling-Demmer

David Nothling-Demmer is Editor of NZ Marketing magazine.

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