|AOL's 'Off-Key' Sales Strategy Puzzles Some|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012 21:24|
Adweek : Technology >>
In explaining AOL’s disappointing display ad results in Q1, a surprising frank CEO Tim Armstrong offered several explanations. During Wednesday’s earnings call, Armstrong said, “we have had a display strategy that was probably off-tune.”
Armstrong later told Adweek, “The majority of our ad customers are running their display budgets off of KPIs (key performance measures like brand lift). We need to reconnect brands to KPIs. We’ve sort of needed to shift from an older display model to a newer display model, and that’s something we’re working through.”
Wait, did AOL corner the market on selling display advertising? To imply that AOL’s sales team hasn’t caught up with the market’s needs, or isn’t trained to sell in a modern fashion, is a rather stunning admission for Armstrong to make.
Did AOL in the past not actually sell display ads based on brand goals?
The online ad market continues to enjoy robust
growth; eMarketer predicts that spending will surge by more than 23 percent this year. AOL’s shrinkage of 1 percent seems more of an indictment of the brand rather than attributable to an off-key sales strategy.
After all, Armstrong shook up AOL’s sales team last summer by
bouncing former Google executive Jeff Levick and naming Ned Brody
AOL’s new chief revenue officer. Then last December, Armstrong
promoted former Miller exec Jim Norton to head of AOL sales. It’s
fair to argue that this new team would be well equipped to attack
the current ad market.
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