Somewhere around the mid-90′s someone coined the phrase “non-traditional revenue” as a catch-all phrase for anything that didn’t take up regular media inventory. And it’s evolved to include events, digital, street teams, sponsorships and so much more.
There is a danger in this umbrella definition for many reasons. Revenue for any inventory or non-inventory product that comes from the same bucket that traditional revenue comes from is just swapping dollars.
Incremental or not? If a rep sells a portfolio of offerings for more share of an ad budget, isn’t that their job in today’s media world? Granted those jobs have changed dramatically in past years, but really the money is still from the same pot, arguably, sold to the same decision-makers. So, is it the revenue that’s non-traditional? I would say no.
To qualify a piece of business as non-traditional, you should look at who’s buying it….not by what they buy.
For media companies to truly grow their revenue, they must call on new decision-makers in industries that have money to spend to move product. Many of these industries are some of the biggest ad spenders, but with a shaky economy and ad budgets dwindling, most reps ignore decision makers outside of traditional advertising. The reality is that more and more Fortune 500 companies are placing large dollars at a regional level with decision-makers in non-advertising functions. These dollars are there to move product, drive traffic, put butts in seats and do business. Are your reps calling on these non-traditional decision-makers?
Is the person buying from you a decision-maker with a title that’s unique, with a unique budget? This is what non-traditional revenue is all about. Otherwise selling the same clients, or even the same types of clients…say a new car dealer… isn’t really non-traditional as much as creative accounting. But if a rep sells a Regional Manager from a large consumer packaged goods company a sponsorship that includes an event, digital, on-site and sampling, you’d certainly have no argument that this is a decision-maker that doesn’t fit the mold of traditional.
Step back and take a look at what you call NTR. Are you calling on non traditional decision-makers or swapping money between products?