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Q&A with Tony Clemenger, Clemenger Consulting

Born into a famous Australian advertising family, Tony Clemenger offers sales solutions for niche magazine publishers via his personal business Clemenger Consulting. Here, Clemenger talks about how he works with small magazine teams to convert their non-core prospects, and his tips for selling in a changing media landscape.

Tony Clemenger
Tony Clemenger.

Tony Clemenger manages a team of commission-based sales professionals, based in Australia and internationally, that work with niche magazine publishers to sell on their print and digital integrated brands. 

Clemenger says “We work with publishers to build successful sales programs, from strategy through to execution.” 

“Growth occurs only with the proper mix of product, positioning and sales, however start-ups and smaller teams often lack the experience necessary to build a successful sales program.” 

“That’s where we come in,” he says. “We help mostly smaller businesses to develop and sell media partnerships – using our team of experienced professionals, rather than investing the time, money and energy into growing their own sales teams.”

A unique career 

Tony Clemengers’ grandfather started Australia’s largest advertising agency Clemenger Group in 1946. And while Tony grew up in the family business, he wanted to forge his own career path. 

And that he did. He’s had a unique career in Australia and overseas spanning advertising, marketing, investment banking, and academia. 

In addition to a variety of roles at Clemenger Group, he’s worked in auditing at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Australia, money markets at National Australia Bank, and within several marketing and advertising agencies.  

Clemenger has studied bachelors in Business and Accounting, Applied Finance and Investments, and Economics. He’s also held an office in Beijing University’s MBA School, where he was the first foreigner to lecture in advertising. 

Working with Clemenger 

Clemenger works across a range of B2B and B2C publications in print and digital formats. 

“We have sport – golf to surfing; adventure to retirement; youth to fashion and lifestyle; property investment and trading to manufacturing; local government, even community notice boards – and more.”

The company works by targeting publishers’ non-core prospects to help them maximise their sales revenue, in addition to working with advertising agencies and marketing consultants on publishers’ behalf – packaging media assets into larger media partnerships where possible. 

To start a successful campaign, Clemenger says that he works with his clients to understand their brands, audience, current ad sales, and the desired sales target to achieve. 

“We have to understand the assets available and whether we can add value,” says Clemenger. 

From there, he tailors the media sales process to each of his clients’ needs, making sure that the campaign suits both the publisher’s target market and their ‘vision’ for their assets. Clemenger then trains and tests his sales agents to ensure that they are the best fit for the campaign. 

Clemenger says that he understands it is important to be flexible and is happy to work within the publishers’ own email and database systems, or if the publisher doesn’t use a CRM, use his own systems. 

All his agreements are also non-binding. 

“If we fail to deliver, then we have failed – and agents or clients are free to leave,” he says, while pointing out that the company works successfully with many publishers on a part-time and full-time basis.

“The truth is that we cost less than an employee when you consider the cost of their salary, super, phone, computer, software, sick and holiday leave.” 

What Clemenger looks for in his team 

Clemenger says that he is always on the lookout for experienced sales professionals. 

“The key is a willingness to learn and an ability to add value. If sales agents can’t do this they can’t add value to a prospective advertiser.  

“Prospects do take time to convert. They are generally selling to a national audience, and they generally have a team that has budgets and plans,” he says.  

“So we have to build a relationship and with every new connection, we must offer something special that others cannot offer nor deliver. An agent who does this all day every day can sell tomorrow, today.”

Selling in a changing media sales landscape 

Clemenger says that the uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic means that it is more important than ever to add and convey value for sales to convert. 

For advertising clients to ensure their ongoing success, they need to demonstrate leadership. “Leaders have to advertise to inform, update, educate, enable industry relevance,” he says.

Particularly for B2C magazines, which have been impacted by reduced newsagent sales, Clemenger says that “digital is increasingly essential”. 

“But I still love print. What else can deliver the branding impact of a double-page spread, back cover or insert advertising? Print will never die.”

The main requirement for success, he says, is “to own your niche, and this is best achieved via a website that levers print to help all stakeholders get what they need”. 

“Understand that the vast majority of readers are seeking to progress in their area of interest or passion, and this career has a path. A publisher’s profit is determined by this reality.”  

Clemenger’s top three tips for publishers selling during COVID-19 

1. Running ongoing sponsored readership surveys 

Clemenger suggests completing ongoing readership surveys that also act as a competition to make sure that publications are delivering the right news and information for their niche audience.  

2. Sell exclusive packaged media partnerships instead of individual sales 

“Media partnerships are key to a publication’s success. Selecting eight relevant industries (for example) and packaging exclusive deals. This maximises returns and minimises time,” he says. 

3. Guarantee your website ranks #1 for its relevant keywords in search engines.

Clemenger says that this can then be used to leverage online events, courses or revenue-generating directories to maximise your returns. 

For more information on Clemenger’s services or to get in touch with Tony, visit www.clemenger.me

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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