Almost every sales team meeting we join includes this question, “What are the hot categories right now?” We are glad that media sales professionals think this way. Sales 101, call on prospects who have a need to place advertising right now.
When taking a category selling approach, there are two paths to consider. You can sell categories that are upcoming in your editorial. For example, a lot of publisher’s partners are focusing on home improvement, real estate, and home interiors over the next couple of months. Those would be great categories to research and prep for the team to approach. The other way to look at category selling is what consumers are buying now. Most categories have a bit of seasonality to them. Looking at the approaching summer months that could include travel, outside shelter (lawn, pool, decks, fences, etc.) and clothing.
With either approach, we suggest selling 2-3 months ahead of when consumers will be making those category purchases. Let’s use lawn care services as an example. People start planning for lawn care the moment they see a hint of spring. So, that when those ads should be hitting their phones…not in June when they have already hired a service and are sitting on their back porch with a glass of lemonade.
Since you may be reading this blog at any given time of the year, we’ve pulled some good “evergreen” categories for you to consider too. Below you’ll find the depth of research the January Spring team likes to arm our sales partners with when headed out to see a client.
Assisted living is a category that spends 5% of its revenue on advertising and marketing. New centers need a heavier spend on brand to help create a presence in the market. Existing facilities need on-going marketing to build their sales efforts. Most people researching this category need to decide rather swiftly, so having a strong brand presence increases the likelihood of a well marketing assisted living home to be selected in a time of need vs another facility that doesn’t keep up its advertising. The perfect time to pitch for these centers is between March to September, because their peak sale months are in October, November, and December.
For an assisted living center, you have two main “customers” or decision makers, one being adult children researching for their relatives and the other are young baby boomers preparing for their own care in the future. Targeting both those audiences are key to this industry. Additionally, this is a category that also would benefit from recruiting and staffing considering the current shortages. This is another opportunity for advertising.
We recommend targeting using traditional media, including: Print, Direct Mail, Outdoor Advertising, and Radio.
For digital media targeting, we recommend: Search, Programmatic, Social Media, and Video.
Personal Injury Attorneys tend to spend 2-15% of their revenue towards marketing. Since an average settlement is about $52,900, we know these injury attorneys spend more than other firms. It’s estimated that 46% of law firms have a marketing budget and 75% of people who are in need of a lawyer research before calling. The perfect time to pitch is between early spring to September with most annual contracts being closed in October, November, and December.
We recommend targeting using traditional and digital media, including: Blogs, Social Media, SEM (Google Ads), Video, Print, Out of Home (billboards), Email, and SEO.
It’s helpful to know that 80% of attorneys source most of their clients within a 10-mile radius of their office. In addition, the typical personal injury client earns less than $50,000, is between age 35 and 59, and has a High School diploma or less. This is great targeting insight for advertisements.
Heating and Cooling spends between 3 and 8% of their revenue on marketing. An average of $20,000-$30,000 is available for plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning advertising funding per year. Today, homeowners are spending more on HVAC maintenance than buying new systems. This means that the perfect time to pitch for anything HVAC related is year-round. The peak sales times are May, June, July, and August along with event tie-ins being local home shows and home remodeling month (May). For tactics, we highly recommend: Programmatic display targeting their existing customer list or a purchased Direct Mail list, Social Media, Video, and Events. Similarly, to assisted living, this is a line of work that is challenged with finding skilled workers, so recruitment is another great investment opportunity.
Dentists and Orthodontists are spending 4-7% of their revenue on marketing. Branding and reputation are their greatest focus and digital is their best friend, especially considering how niche the industry is, from cosmetic to emergency to pediatric and so on. The best time to approach this category is Spring to July. Revenue is highest during back-to-school months and at the end of the year when patients are finishing out their insurance benefits.
We recommend the following advertising mix: SEM (Google AdWords), Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Company Website, and SEO.
We hope this in-depth look at how to prep for category selling gives you some concrete ideas to put this into practice with your sales team.