Jaimie Hefelfinger: Call me crazy, but I prefer selling commodities. This is where true partnerships and salesmanship come into play rather than just selling shiny objects. To set yourself apart in this environment, I would focus on the advertiser rather than yourself/your products. I would bring industry research and case studies relevant to their business. Ask a lot of questions to learn about their industry, their experience, their goals, etc., so you can create a custom plan that is specialized to meet their needs. These conversations and customization allow them to be a cook in the kitchen with you. This emotional investment on their part will make them more interested in the results of campaign (and, as a result, harder for them to cancel or not renew). The more level the playing field, the more your personality can shine. Sell yourself!


Mike Scarpace: The best way to differentiate yourself at the local level is by taking the consultative approach.  Most sellers are typically just pitching the shiniest new toy in the ad space to get that quick transactional sale. If you take your time to understand your client’s digital history and goals, and then work to build a plan around those, it typically leads to better results. Educating them along the way on the latest trends and what is and is not working in the space will help build a trustworthy relationship.


Will Bolles: If I were a local seller, I would really focus on industry current events and pair it with a feature that compliments what is in the news. For example, the cookieless future of advertising and Basis DSP’s Contextual Insights Reporting. This reporting feature is advantageous for the advertiser because it allows the buyer to make optimization decisions by identifying contextual segments that weren’t previously part of the campaign. For example, if you were targeting the Entertainment vertical for an upcoming family event, using this reporting feature, your buyer might observe that the “Home & Garden” segment is performing well against your KPI. You are making suggestions and finding performance—both of which go a long way in solidifying the partnership—while also addressing how you will adapt to a future where there is an increased reliance on cookieless targeting.


John Hyland: Create your own brand. For example, on LinkedIn, become “Digital Amy – Helping your business grow in Chicago and beyond!” The point is, do something different! If the brand you work for feels like a commodity, then do something else—form a new brand within the brand. 😊


Alyssa Hamm: For our self-serve clients out there, speak to that! Running something internally not only gives you transparency into the setup, delivery and optimization of your campaign, but also provides a chance to highlight local activation! Not only does the buyer know all about your local market (and the advertisers you work with), but you could actually bring your buyer to a strategy meeting! With an in-house buying desk, you can truly be their digital agency.