AAN East Roundup: Classified Advertising Programming

AAN East’s classified advertising programming kicked off on Friday afternoon with an eight-minute “Speed Meet” that promised sales reps the opportunity to “meet the colleague of your life.”

“There are so many new ad reps that ice-breaking sessions like the speed meet are really helpful,” Leslie Land of Independent Weekly said. Her paper’s classifieds manager, Robby Robbins, moderated the seminar and supplied conversation-generating topics.

“Break-out Sessions,” a series of roundtable discussions, followed. Reps got the chance to pick each other’s brains about increasing the sales of everything from real estate to adult advertising.

“I was able to gain perspective from similar-sized papers and see how we all deal with the same problems,” said Zach Mader of Philadelphia City Paper. “It was also interesting to compare my paper to smaller publications.”

Day two began with Kelly Wirges’ seminar, “Creating Successful Classified Ads.” She described selling as a transfer of enthusiasm — a quality that Wirges’s presentation certainly did not lack. Upbeat and smiling at 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, she let loose with rapid-fire information and anecdotes.

“She has a really good understanding of how the world of advertising works,” Mader said. “It’s easy to apply her information to classified sales. I learned how to manage my time better and to set up a sales call.”

After lunch, Margo Berman from Unlock The Block began her seminar on proposal polishing. With creative and persuasive writing tips, she taught ad reps how to write an ad proposal that draws the reader in and makes them take action.

“Selling Your Influential Readership” was the last session of the day, presented by AAN’s director of sales and marketing, Roxanne Cooper. Based on research indicating that there are a small number of people in society who influence the rest of the population, Cooper shared ideas about how to target — and market to — those few “influentials.”

AAN East concluded with an “Eat With Your Own Kind” dinner Saturday night. Land found it a perfect ending to the conference. “I get so much out of networking at these conferences,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to do something like [the dinner] and meet with people you don’t normally get to see.”