The Makegood is pleased to welcome Photobucket’s Brad Davis and David Toner as monthly contributors to The Makegood. Brad Davis is CRO/ EVP-Sales, and David Toner is VP Marketing at Photobucket, one of the world’s leading dedicated photo and video sharing services. Look for their columns every fourth Tuesday on The Makegood. This column has been written by Brad Davis.
Recently I had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty as a U.S. citizen. I served on the jury of a criminal case. I had the responsibility of helping to determine not whether the defendant was guilty or innocent but what “level of severity” of crime had been committed. It was a challenging and rewarding experience.
The challenge was to be an effective juror, listen to the testimony given and the evidence presented, intently and well, then return at the end of the day to address the requirements of my job as CRO at Photobucket. It was like having two jobs for three weeks! But, the reward was knowing that I had contributed significantly to providing closure for the family of the victim and appropriate justice for the defendant. As I reflect on the experience, I discovered some surprising parallels between the court experience and the experience we as publishers and sellers experience every day.
“There is a reliance on technology to get the job done.”
The ubiquity of and dependency on multiple devices was evident during the entire trial. From free (and very strong) wireless at the courthouse, to testimony dependent on the use of mobile phone records and video surveillance, to the use of tablets by everyone sitting at the prosecutors and defendants table, to the Powerpoint used by the lawyers in court to present their final arguments—every appropriate technological device was used to further the case. As sellers we must do the same—use all the technologies available—in answering that RFP or developing a solution to meet a client’s needs. Think of all the technological tools you use everyday to “further your case.” Regardless of the specs on an RFP, a seasoned seller will ensure that all the media solutions around cross-platform devices will be used in building the best solution possible. Just as the lawyers used all tools at their disposal, a successful seller will include mobile, tablet, promotional opportunities—whether the RFP requests it or not—if that is what is required to build the best solution. If the buyer/ decision maker pushes back, the consultative seller will probe—just like the lawyer with a witness—what the rationale is for not accepting the specific technological platform or solution and provide evidence, using the technology you have available, as to why it should be included.
“The burden of proof is on the prosecution.”
In a criminal case, it is incumbent on the prosecution to present evidence and testimony that will lead the jury to their desired decision beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense does not have the burden of proving innocence, or in our case upholding a lesser charge, that according to the law is already presumed. Jurors are admonished to only take into account the testimony given by witnesses and experts, and the evidence presented, in determining their verdict in the deliberation. This seems very analogous with the situation between publisher/ seller and buyer/ decision-maker in any media negotiation. The buyer must make their recommendation based on the research, facts, solutions, case studies and benefits rationale presented to them by the seller. The stronger the “testimony” you give and the “evidence” you present as to the benefit of your solution in meeting the marketing needs- the better your chances are of a decision in your favor. You never hear “We didn’t buy you because you gave us too much information.” Consider yourself as a “prosecutor,” where the burden of proof to use your publisher/ solution is on you. Not the defense, or the buyer, who does not have the responsibility to prove the value of your argument.
“The jury decision is made behind closed doors.”
Twelve people return a verdict—we all know that. But the jury process is truly a collaborative effort that requires unanimous consensus to be reached for a verdict to be delivered. The prosecutor, defense, judge have no sway once those doors are closed. The verdict is decided strictly on the evidence and the testimony provided. This is the same as the ultimate decision weighed against your media solution. You present your evidence to the buyer and then the decision normally goes to a collaborative group of individuals who weigh your proposal against others presented. You rarely have the chance to “sway the decision” once it has gone behind closed doors. This is where the image of your company, the awareness in the marketplace of the solutions you offer, the client and agency relationships you bring to the table can influence the final decision. Unlike the way a court jury is supposed to arrive at their decision, in this case emotions and perceptions are play a part—in addition to the strength of your closing argument!
On the surface, the similarities between the court system and a media negotiation may seem slight. But, as every seller knows, you face judge and jury every day. You must use all you have available to meet the clients needs, you must present your case effectively, and rely upon a decision to be made “behind closed doors.” Just as with the prosecutor, the burden of proof is on you. With every RFP and opportunity you have the chance to prove your publisher or solution is the one that best meets the client’s needs “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Oh, and the next time you are called to jury duty, don’t immediately try to find a way to get out. You may be surprised on what a rewarding, and familiar, effort it is.
Brad Davis is CRO/ EVP-Sales at Photobucket, one of the world’s leading dedicated photo and video sharing services. Look for Photobucket’s columns every fourth Tuesday on The Makegood.