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DOOH Sales: Say “No” to Spreadsheets

Media planning and buying is an integral part of the advertising industry. Without this process, publishers would have no content and advertisers would have no place to publish their content. The ad sales process in the DOOH industry, however, is not as glamorous as the displays on which campaigns are played – and spreadsheets are to blame.
Spreadsheets are ingrained in media sales network management. Through tried and true, in today’s world of advanced technology and automation, it’s obvious the entrenched system has lost the benefits it once was known. It’s time to bid adieu to the status quo of laborious, tedious and error-prone spreadsheet usage, and phase it out of the media planning and buying world. Here’s why.
Spreadsheets are inflexible lists that are manually created. Once a media proposal is approved, it is difficult to accommodate last minute requests and any changes must be worked into a new version by hand. This is a time-consuming and error-prone process that takes away from overall control and overview of the deal.
Unfit to Scale
Depending on the circumstances and context, scalability may not always be a consideration. However, in the world of advertising, the number of media that are owned, bought and published are always growing and this is where spreadsheets fall short. When faced with vast amounts of data, spreadsheets become cumbersome and make it complicated to manage a large number of items. Spreadsheets are suited for small-scope projects – not the multi-market buys so common in DOOH.
Hinder Collaborative Workflow
DOOH ad sales require teamwork and collaboration. Multiple team members continuously update media plans and this is where spreadsheets rear their ugly heads.
Spreadsheets are a hindrance to collaborative workflow. Most do not keep track of versions, do not display past actions and do not provide notifications of changes made. Any new edit to the spreadsheet must be manually communicated through another channel (such as email) or be on a duplicated file, leading to many separate versions when complete. The task of consolidating all versions becomes timely, burdensome and prone to inaccuracy.
Not Emergency-Friendly
Backup plans and proposals must be managed to prevent a catastrophe in the case of failure. This is not done automatically by spreadsheets, and unexpected hiccups are difficult to troubleshoot and test. Considering that troubleshooting is one of the basic features of many software and management systems today, this is a fundamental flaw that is hard to overlook.
Lacking in Features
Spreadsheets are a hard sell in an industry driven by technological advancement. Existing features in similar markets allow for general inventory to be easily viewed and obtained, while automation enables a salesperson to efficiently dig into different databases and target the right audience based on demographics and display locations. Automated features also allow proposals to be promptly readjusted when budgets are changed.
In light of this, spreadsheets are comparatively clunky, old fashioned and slow. Automated platforms are being developed by DOOH tech specialists today and are well-oiled machines ready to smooth out the wrinkles in the DOOH buying and selling process. Media owners are encouraged to gives their sales coordinators a hand by adopting the new technologies approaching on the horizon to see what efficiencies and improvements can be brought to existing processes.
The wide adoption of automation will relegate spreadsheets all but useless, and one day they will be found under a thick layer of dust in the DOOH attic, a remnant of a bygone era.