The Brave New World of Lead Gen: Or How to Give Advertisers the ROI They Want!

Yes, it’s a brave new publishing world and you can still measure ROI. Your advertisers are looking for more now than just a list of ad placements on a rate card. They want ROI from your magazine’s leads!

The secret to success is selling targeted audience segments within your ad spaces. We recently interviewed Ronda Hughes-Stovern, Senior Director, Sales and Marketing at UBM Life Sciences, ways to “speak audience” and sell to data points that will excite your clients.

Tell us more about selling audience vs ad space? What do niche publishers need to know?

Ronda: “One of the most significant changes in B2B publishing over the past decade is the evolution and definition of “ad space”, but what hasn’t changed is the importance of a target audience.  How our audience prefers to be contacted or how they prefer to consume content might have changed but the importance of having a current, industry relevant, and engaged audience hasn’t changed.  With that being said, in my humble opinion, the long debate of what comes first audience or content (or where the content is placed) should be over.  Even though “Content is King” a King without a Kingdom (audience) is nobody. 

Knowing your data/audience is the most important part of any ad sale and is a static conversation that needs to take place (be comfortable with it, believe in it, own it), the vehicle they use to reach their (your) target audience should be a consultative conversation based upon the media outlets you have to offer.  This is true whether you are a large or niche publisher.”

ROI is always the hot button. How do we help advertisers understand the ROI from the targeted leads they get from publishers? What should they be looking for?  

Ronda: “An important point that is usually missed in a publisher/advertiser conversation is the fact that publication/brand audiences have already been vetted.  Finding the right people and getting them to opt-in, sign up, register, subscribe to events or content is a large expense that hits the publishers’ bottom line.  Therefore, if a publisher invests in the quality of their audience they should be confident in response rates and pricing.  

  1. Quality over Quantity.  If an advertiser complains about the number of leads received, go through the exercise of explaining the quality of those leads.  Ask if their sales reps have contacted each of those leads and ask how many of them converted.  In most cases, the advertiser/agency is complaining before even knowing the actual conversion rate.  I stand by the fact that if a publisher has a quality, well-vetted audience, their advertisers spend less money on the back end trying to filter out bad leads.
  2. Gone are the days of lag.  Advertisers don’t have to wait for print ad leads via USPS mail from “bingo cards”. (Remember those?)  Now they place a print ad and hope for an increase in their web traffic, registered leads on their website, or maybe an e-mail from the lead, etc.  The world of .com and/or www sped up the print lead process.  Not to mention the instant leads coming from digital (especially e-mail campaigns) advertising. ROI can be measured by timeliness of the responses. Publishers should be cognizant of industry standards and measurements for web metrics, open rates, click rates, registration form submits vs aborts, etc. 
  3. In it to win it.  Even the cleanest most relevant, engaged audiences can turn out bad results. There are many variables to having a successful ad campaign (message, timing, placement, exaggerated expectations, etc). ROI can be measured on a publishers commitment to successful results. It might take more publisher/advertiser conversations, testing, and creative ways to get leads that convert. True partnerships are priceless.

How does selling to data points get clients excited? Can you give some real-world examples?

Ronda: Clients/advertisers get excited when a publisher can give unconventional proof of having their specific target audience.  Showing an advertiser an audit statement or a data card with business/function/title counts is conventional and expected. The conventional ways of proving your audience is still important and most of the time required but it’s not at all “exciting”!  What’s exciting is building an audience for your client that includes the basics mentioned above along with unconventional data such as behavioral data (websites visits, e-mail opens, clicks) and topic interests/contextual data.  Being able to show data points that prove publishers truly invest in their audience and database so that we can deliver quality leads in a timely matter IS exciting.”

Niche Media: What trends do you see coming in the advertising space?

Ronda: “Having organized accurate data gives publishers freedom to become creative in the types of media/vehicles they can use to reach the right people.  Having organized data gives publishers ease of creating new products based on our customer’s data.  Since data has become so relevant in the past 5 years,  I see a trend of Publishers/Sales having to embrace the art of “consultative selling”.  The big beautiful world of data has allowed publishers to become solution providers through consultative selling.  Very exciting trend!”


Editor’s note: To learn more from Ronda in person, she will be speaking on Sell Your Audience, Not Your Ad Space, at Super Niche in Charlotte, March 27-29, 2017.



More about Ronda: Ronda Hughes-Stovern is the Sr. Director of Sales/Marketing and Audience Data for the Pharmaceutical/Life Science Division at UBM Americas. Her current responsibilities include using integrated, insightful data to drive responsive and engaged marketing for both internal purposes and 3rd party/advertising sales. She is responsible for maintaining, enhancing, and growing the largest integrated database in the Pharma/Life Science industry (over a million records).   Past Life: She has over 20 years in the B2B media business.


About this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.


Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Check out the all new Super Niche, March 27-29, 2017!