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Every day, marketers make critical decisions about where, and how, to spend their advertising dollars. So which is more important to them – the type of ad being pitched or the media brand offering it? According to Borrell Associates 2019 Local Advertiser Survey, two in three say the type of ad holds the greatest influence while fewer than one in five indicated the media brand was the biggest factor.

Sales reps work hard to gain the trust of local advertisers. And when it comes to what influences them the most in trusting a rep, knowledge and communication skills are paramount, the survey shows. Nearly six in 10 respondents (58%) said the ability for the sales rep to “clearly describe capabilities of his or her media product” influences them the most in trusting a sales rep. Close behind was “knowledge of your business or industry,” and “overall knowledge about marketing and advertising” – each was selected by 55%. Less important were “connections to the local market” (37%), “personal manner – personality, eye contact, hand shake, politeness” (25%) and knowledge of the advertisers’ account history (24%). Physical appearances and voice characteristics were the least important factors. Methodological note: The percentages don’t add up to 100 because respondents were asked to pick three.

Verbatim comments about sales reps help tell the story of what influences advertisers the most. “I won’t buy something just because of a good rep. BUT if the rep is terrible, I will not hesitate to reallocate $,” said one advertiser.

Other comments underscore the importance of knowledge and communication skills: “If the salesperson doesn’t know their product, I question why the company has them out pitching,” one local advertiser commented. Said another, “The audience a particular medium reaches in the most important thing.” And this: “If someone can educate their consumer, not only are they more likely to make a sale, they are building a relationship of trust that should produce longevity.”

Others spoke of the importance of trust: “I’m pretty old school. I need to be able to trust the PEOPLE I work with and have them be honest folks.”

The survey was conducted from April to July and included 2,288 total respondents. Borrell says the participants were solicited from the active advertiser lists of various media companies across the country.