Webinar Preview: Future-Proof Your Rate Card

It’s not easy for publishers to keep their rate cards updated in an environment where buyers’ expectations and strategies change over time. On the sell side, you have to be responsive to the whims of advertisers and agencies who are holding the purse strings–and as technology has advanced to show publishers the true value of their inventory, it’s understandable that a person would wonder what the point is of maintaining a rate card at all.

This is some of what we’ll be digging into in our upcoming AdMonsters webinar, “Future-Proof Your Rate Card.” Dial or link in on Wed., Feb. 28, and join Rachel Friedman (Senior Product Manager with our webinar’s sponsor, FatTail), Doug Wintz ( Founder and Principal of DMW Media Works), Alex Vogt (Executive Director, Yield and Revenue Ops at Condé Nast), and Nicole Allyn (Digital Inventory Analyst at the Boston Globe). Hope this doesn’t sound like a spoiler–it shouldn’t be one–but we’ll be looking not at ditching your rate card, but at making it dynamic and flexible enough for any changes that might come down the line, regardless of whether you’re able to predict them now.

Sign up for the webinar today–it’s free! And until the 28th, chew on these preview questions Rachel Friedman has answered, to help us understand how rate card management is evolving, along with who’s responsible for that rate card management.

rachel friedman fattail 200 Isn’t the rate card a relic of the past? Header integrations have enabled holistic yield management, letting the market decide the rate of all the inventory out there.

Direct sales are not going away. Media sales have evolved to include services including more than just media that can be purchased on the open market. More than ever, pricing controls should be enforced within the business to place a value on every piece of inventory. What that means is that rate cards are not only necessary, but they need to be managed more closely and to be responsive to changes in supply, demand, and market value, to name a few of the many inputs that are incorporated into a rate card.

Are you seeing a shift in which department or division heads up rate card management? Is it a positive shift?

Absolutely! Rate management traditionally lived within the sales organization. Over the last 10 years, what you are seeing is that not only is rate management shifting outside the sales purview to finance or ad operations, but entire revenue management teams are being formed to specifically manage revenue optimization and rate strategies. The skill set combines the operational understanding of how the ad delivery ecosystem works, where premiums can and should be applied to inventory, and a yield/revenue mindset. We’ve seen many ad operations teams evolve in to this position and claim their seat at the leadership table, in terms of being able to influence the bottom line and drive the organizational accountability. The days of ad operations being the unsung heroes with all the responsibility and little influence on strategy are fading in to the past.

Are there newer tools that have proven game-changers when it comes to rate card management?

AdBook+! Jokes aside: In the same way that we’re seeing publishers adopt new vernacular around revenue operations, we’ve been working to shift thinking away from “order management” and toward revenue management–which is where our platform is focused. We’ve partnered with publishers like Condé Nast, who have developed advanced rate strategies, and have extended our “pricing and yield management” tools to further streamline rate management within the AdBook platform by expanding our real-time, dynamic pricing capabilities to account for a wider number of business factors, and adding more robust rate enforcement tools.

What’s the biggest challenge publishers have in maintaining a rate card today—optimizing pricing, building awareness, or executing against?

You can create a culture around rate optimization and get organizational buy-in, but if you can’t execute on your rate strategy, then what is the point in having one? The process needs to be easy to use and not create bottlenecks within the sales cycle (that’s where you start to lose buy in).  It also needs to deliver the right data so that revenue operations has the actionable insights it needs to continuously evolve and advance their rate strategies.