Sales Calls Top Job for Cable Ad Association

Jan 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

After shaking up its staff, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau says it is ready to make more one-on-one sales calls to convince clients to spend more money advertising on cable networks and local cable.

The trade association fired several staffers at the end of last year and replaced them with executives who have media industry experience at marketing companies and networks.

“Everyone will be able to make any kind of sales call,” said CAB President and CEO Sean Cunningham. “We’ve been delivering, we’ve been pleased, but we’ve wanted to be able to scale and be able to sell every day, and this allows us to do that.”

After Mr. Cunningham arrived at CAB almost three years ago, the group refocused, shifting money that had been spent on conventions and other events to research and individual visits with agencies and clients. (CAB continues to host a local sales conference, to be held in Atlanta this year.)

Mr. Cunningham admitted it is difficult to directly trace ad spending that the organization has steered to its members, the networks and the operators.

“In retrospect, it’s hard to do the forensic work to quantify and qualify down to a dollar basis,” he said. But he said he sees indications that CAB pitches are getting through-CAB sales calls generate visits to the group’s Web site and requests for data and research.

The new hires are David Leitner, VP of sales and marketing, who was previously at Atari, and Annelisa Gadea, director of sales and marketing, from planning manager for Nick at Nite. CAB also hired Chris Jones from Marsh Inc. as VP of corporate communications and promoted Cynthia Perkins-Roberts to the new position of VP of diversity sales and marketing.

Mr. Cunningham said CAB’s pitch for 2006 was little changed from prior years, but a larger portion of the group’s presentation is about new television advertising opportunities such as video-on-demand and broadband video because that’s what clients are interested in hearing about.

“You have to talk about television as a whole,” he said. “Cable has license to talk about television as a whole because in any given media plan we’re 65 percent, 70 percent of the ratings point delivery and have the lion’s share of the responsibility for reach accumulations. I’ve also got the content brands that are growing and have all the heat that are also multiplatform and I’ve got the dominant distribution method in hard-wired cable.”

Mr. Cunningham said he does not view the increased popularity of non-linear video streams as a threat to cable’s growth.

“There is no need to strike a defensive posture,” he said. “It’s really still about how television is generating its own growth, and it’s a more robust advertising and marketing product than it’s ever been.”

CAB is considering three research projects for 2006, all suggested by ad buyers and clients. Those customers will also be involved in choosing from the three projects, and they’ll have input into the study design and the vendors involved.