As published in Marketing Tech Insights’ February Cover Story by Jasmin Alic
A constant myriad of revolutionary advancements has swarmed the advertising market since the dawn of Y2K, impacting the way business is conducted and products are sold. Despite these radical changes, ad sales technology had not evolved at the same pace. It took Lineup Systems with its all-round advertising eco-system to change that.
While CIO of Metro International, the global media company that introduced the world to the concept of free news, Michael Mendoza and his team designed and built Metro Adpoint, the industry’s first end-to-end advertising sales solution focused on delivering operational efficiency coupled with the highest revenue and yield possible.
This was a fortuitous move. As Michael comments, “a major market shift in 2009 meant many media companies needed to become more sophisticated about outbound sales processes and explore ways of growing their traffic and revenue overnight—trails of which the industry had lost over the years.” Having been involved in sales and media throughout his entire career, Mendoza recognized a true opportunity to introduce the Adpoint product into the global scene. In 2009, following an MBO that bought the Adpoint system from Metro, Mendoza launched Lineup Systems and its advertising solution platform would eventually become the global standard for advertising solutions, catering to more than 1,600 media brands in 33 countries.
THE ADPOINT ADVANTAGE
After its first public release, Mendoza reveals that he expected small to medium-sized businesses to be earlier adopters of the system. However, AdPoint’s “turning sales organizations into hunters” approach also appealed to larger businesses, bringing in clients like News Corp and Time Inc.—two of Lineup’s biggest clients to date that have been with the company from the very beginning.
Adpoint provides an ecosystem for rich and accurate booking in print, digital, broadcast, outdoor, and events, providing robust multi-channel advertising sales capabilities from lead generation to billing. “When we say Adpoint is a true multi-channel system, we mean it. We will go toe-to-toe with any media channel-specific software and win because each one of our channels is so feature rich, it gives each department the belief that Adpoint was built specifically for them,” explicates Mendoza. “In doing so, Lineup arguably provides better solutions for media businesses than most financial or advertising operation systems out there. Combining competitive analysis and lead generation tools into an ecosystem, where all of these things work together at the right time to provide the right information about which customers are most likely to buy which product. Adpoint always gives a sales person at least five reasons to pick up the phone and make money,” extols Mendoza.
One of the company’s unique value propositions lies in its speed to market. To put it in perspective, instead of only launching new products whose development can take years, Lineup puts their expertise into growing their existing offering to ensure their clients always keep their finger on the pulse in terms of any and all market changes. Lineup’s clients are offered an updated version of Adpoint every six weeks and the platform’s agile web-based infrastructure means Lineup can deliver this upgrade in minutes, not days. “We believe the media world is changed in partial percentages at a time and we try to address those changes every few weeks with system updates to provide our customers with continual revenue growth opportunities across all media channels,” expounds Mendoza.
THE FORMULA TO PROLIFIC ADVERTISING
Most legacy solutions in the market specialize only in one channel or one aspect of the advertising process, fractions of what Adpoint can deliver. The idea that people just buy space is a very small part of the current ecosystem. Understanding the market entirely and knowing how to deliver sales that are effective and enable growth in this day and age, are the core principles behind Lineup’s stellar positioning in the global market of advertising solutions. “Media companies don’t sell ads in isolation anymore,” explicates Mendoza. “They are selling a multi-channel experience, which requires ad reps to have access to a myriad of advertising tools in an ecosystem designed to drive sales.’’
Mendoza equates having a good media product and a good audience to only 50 percent of what is needed. “The other half is knowing that you have that audience and how to sell that audience to your customers. When speaking to a customer, a sales person needs to know exactly what the best solution is to achieve the customer’s goals, while maximizing profitability,” says Mendoza. “These things need to be comprehensively incorporated into Adpoint to help create good revenue. Our specialty is to understand where the value resides for the advertisers in a particular media space and present it to the sales person during the sales engagement process,” elucidates the Lineup CEO.
TRULY CONVERGED ADVERTISING
The perfect example of Lineup’s success is demonstrated by its customer Gannett. Lineup’s Adpoint is used by Gannett’s entire group and the millions of bills they generate, showing the solution’s massive scalability. Adpoint has replaced multiple legacy systems and manual processes for Gannett consolidating workflows and reporting into a single system. “Together with Gannett, we have created an improved organization, which is highly efficient and centralized across their entire group; and that is a huge achievement,” avows Mendoza. “What we find with Adpoint is that the ROI for all of our clients comes very early because we can create results that have never been possible before Adpoint.”
Mendoza credits Lineup’s success to the extensive media knowledge and experience of their teams, who completely understand how to meet the revenue needs of the client, but more importantly, to be impactful to the market. “We have a policy of recruiting from the media sector and training our team to ‘do the right thing.’ As much as we want to stay ahead of the competition, it is pertinent that we push the industry forward, helping our clients grow their businesses. We have to stick to our strengths and support our customers to create a success story for each and every client. We need to collectively contribute to their business, our business, and the market overall,” connotes Mendoza. It’s this approach that has led Lineup Systems to win business with many of today’s most progressive media companies including Toronto Star, Time Out, News UK, Telegraph Media Group, Time Inc. UK, News Corp Australia and Groupe Rossel, among others.
BROADENING THE HORIZON
With the New Year gathering momentum, Lineup is gearing up to unveil an innovative programmatic media solution—the first of its kind—which will allow publishers to regain some ground with pricing by preventing yield dropping. “We believe that you need to be the best in every channel individually before you can call yourself true multi-channel,” Mendoza sets forth. Moreover, recognizing the value of Salesforce, Adpoint integrates with the CRM giant to stay on top of the game. These industry partnerships, such as the ones recently formed with MPP Global Solutions and Local Stars, ensure Lineup’s clients are always provided with innovative solutions at the palm of their hands.
“We’ve always been about increasing revenue for publishers and that’s 100 percent our focus,” asserts the Lineup CEO. “We always demonstrate what we can do now, not just promise for the future.”
Rapidly expanding globally, Lineup is also heavily investing in growing its US team, which has nearly doubled in the last two years. Mendoza reveals plans for repeating that number again throughout the course of 2017. “Our product has to be specialized for each of the markets it is going to be successful in,” comments Mendoza. Despite being the largest advertising sales platform business in the world, Mendoza admits to not having a generic growth strategy for Lineup on a global scale. The company currently sits atop the general European market, while aiming for the number one spot in Germany and France, as well as the U.S., respectively. With the company’s current growth rate, there is no doubt that it will become a reality soon.
See the article…Marketing Tech Insights February Issue