We spoke with Lizelle McConnell, sales director at Tractor Outdoor - a media owner which specialises in connecting brands to customers through Out Of Home (OOH) and Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) inventory.
Lizelle McConnell, sales director at Tractor Outdoor
McConnell is responsible for managing their sales team and ensuring they are aligned with the targets defined - while also maintaining high-level client relationships. “I believe that one of the most important aspects of my role is the importance of instilling in my team the power of developing, nurturing, and growing these relationships,” she said.
Here, she tells us more about her work with OOH and DOOH, the place of women in the industry right now, and how diversity can impact OOH marketing…
What do you love most about your work?
Aside from the development of relationships, I am also highly passionate about media strategy, and being able to tap into the insights that we now have access to thanks to the advent of technology.
The industry is shifting - and with the global debate around advertising fraud in the traditional digital space, advertisers need to be confident that their ads are being seen by the very audiences that they are paying to have access to.
As a business, we’ve invested significantly in new data verification metrics that will establish greater trust with our clients. These tools make DOOH a force to be reckoned with as we can now show measurable results, and for this reason, I believe we are seeing a renaissance of OOH.
I also still love the thrill of pitching and the excitement of closing a big deal - I think this is in the blood of all salespeople!
What is the most effective way of connecting to customers, in your opinion?
Tools and data are important, and being able to show a solid business result is non-negotiable, so having a good reputation and track record is key. But ultimately - and before all of this - people buy from people. This does not mean being a ‘Yes Man’ or telling your clients what they want to hear - it is about offering guidance that is in their best interests; ahead of your own sales agenda. Your integrity, honesty, and care for your clients and their business is what will set you apart in a highly competitive arena. Being able to solve problems for clients definitely stands you in good stead.
How has OOH and DOOH advertising/inventory been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Covid has catapulted us into a data-driven world - I would argue that before, we were only flirting with data - we were definitely not leveraging it to its full potential. It’s now become a core part of our industry.
As one could imagine, the initial hard lockdown was tough on us - it is hard to justify out of home spending in a time when people were told to stay at home. However, in hindsight, it has brought a lot of good to our industry, in that it has forced us to focus and make the necessary investment in technology, which will make us far more resilient into the future.
The recovery in OOH was largely due to flexibility on DOOH - plug-and-play has become very important to clients, and for this reason, we are seeing an exciting re-ignition of the entire category. We are also seeing far more ‘combos’ purchased - where iconic, static OOH (i.e. traditional billboard) and DOOH inventory are frequently booked together.
In your opinion, how can diversity - of all kinds - affect the impact of OOH and DOOH advertising and marketing?
In two ways - we need to see more diversity within the OOH industry, and we need to see wider representation in our OOH marketing campaigns - just as we do across every marketing discipline.
OOH as an industry has always been male-dominated, and this is the case globally - only now are we starting to see a change. In the US, the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the US trade association for the OOH and digital OOH media ecosystem, recently announced a joint diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative in partnership with Geopat called the OOH United, which aims to advance a culture of inclusion throughout the outdoor arena.
Locally, there is still some way to go. We need to be doing more to attract women - especially women of colour. We need to do better at showcasing the industry and what it has to offer in terms of career fulfilment, and make it more welcoming to more people. Once we get this right, I believe that the positive knock-on effect is that we will start seeing more diversity in the marketing campaigns we see across our OOH billboards - because we will have more voices at the table and richer ideas - thanks to this wider representation.
What is the most exciting project you have ever worked on?
I am fortunate in that I have worked on loads of incredible campaigns, so it would be difficult to narrow it down to just one. However, a project I have recently started, which I am very passionate about, is my Women in Leadership Masterclass Series, facilitated by Lockstep Leadership Development. I wanted to create a safe forum for women in the industry to connect, to share their stories, challenges, and opportunities, while building a network of mentors for each other.
What, in your opinion, constitutes a successful advertising and marketing campaign?
Clear campaign objectives from clients. This sounds simple but often clients aren’t sure what they want to achieve, which makes it hard for us to succeed.
Secondly, the data has to be in place to ensure that we are reaching the right people at the right time.
Last, but certainly not least, creative execution is critical.
A comprehensive post-campaign analysis is also key to review what worked well and what didn’t so that we can apply these learnings to future campaigns.
What is the best advice someone has ever given you?
Focus on what you love - and the rest will follow from there.