How To Barter For Advertising
James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public
domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at
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is common in virtually all media.
- We can
negotiate a deal with the media.
is common in virtually all media. The media must sell their
advertising space (or time) or else the deadline will pass, and the
opportunity will be lost forever. Therefore, many publishers and
broadcasters are eager to "trade out" their unsold ad space or time,
whether the company is a small weekly newspaper or a large television
network like NBC. We can use the following approaches in acquiring
advertising for our business:
- Trades with other barter-club members. In many barter clubs,
some of the members are owners of media. In the directory of one
club, there were 8 ad agencies, 16 companies for ad design and
production, 8 direct mail advertising services, 14 newspapers, 14
radio stations, 8 specialty advertising manufacturers (with
printed T-shirts, buttons, stand-up displays, etc.), and companies
which specialize in coupon ads, aerial ads, and billboards.
- Direct trades. The media might accept our goods and services
in a one-to-one trade. The possibilities include:
- Supplying the media's needs. Like any other business, these
companies need office supplies, computer equipment, printing,
office furniture, cleaning, catering, plumbing, vehicle
maintenance, hotel rooms for visitors, etc.
- Supplying prizes. When media have contests, the prizes are
usually acquired by bartering; for example, if the prize is a
free lunch at a restaurant, the restaurant is probably trading
that lunch for some advertising.
- Publicity. The possibilities include:
- Donations. We can get publicity in exchange for a donation
(of goods or services) to a local charity. If the charity is
putting on a benefit, our company's name will be displayed in
the event's program.
- Press releases. We barter whenever we send a press release
to the media; for example, we are providing news to fill a
newspaper's page, and the newspaper is providing publicity for
- Talk shows. As with press releases, we are providing a
service -- filling a talk show's schedule -- in exchange for
- Volunteer work. Whether we are hammering nails or
delivering a public talk, we are providing a service while
getting publicity for our business.
- The barter club's directory and newsletter.
- The directory. The barter-club directory is like a phone
directory; it contains the name, address, and description of
every member. As in a phone directory, we can have a simple
listing, or we can buy a larger ad.
- The newsletter. Our company might be mentioned in a "new
members" section of the newsletter. Also, we can buy space for
a display ad in the newsletter; one barter club charges $60 for
a full-page ad (8.5" x 11"). Some franchised clubs have
national newsletters (in addition to the local
newsletter), so that we can advertise our goods and services
- Direct references. Some clubs don't have directories;
instead, a member calls the club to get a referral to someone
who can supply a specific item or service.
- Showrooms. A few barter clubs have stores which display
some of the goods which are offered by members.
- Barter brokers. Barter brokers create one-to-one deals between
companies, for a commission (which is approximately 15% from both
parties). Brokers are useful for finding someone who wants our
goods or services, and for negotiating the deal. In some cases,
brokers set up three-way trades (involving three parties), or they
trade directly from their own inventory of advertising time and
- Ad agencies. Agencies are familiar with bartering, so they can
help us to negotiate deals with media and with barter brokers.
negotiate a deal with the media. These factors are important:
- Discounts. Discounts vary, and they are negotiable.
- Barter brokers want to trade merchandise at the full retail
price for the regular ad rate because they earn a commission on
the cash value of the trade.
- Publishers and broadcasters want to barter advertising at
their normal rate for the lowest wholesale cost of the goods
which they want.
- Non-competition. One hazard is that the barter broker will
sell our goods or services at a discount in our own market area,
unless our contract prohibits the broker from selling
within this market area.
- Time limits. The contract might require us to use the
advertising before a particular date.
- We might permit the station to broadcast the ads at the
time of its choice. Of course, if will choose to broadcast our
ads in the time-slots which it couldn't sell for cash.
- We might allow the station to use our service only during
slow periods, or only during periods when we need the extra
advertising. For example, we might permit the station to book
our hotel rooms only on weekdays, when we always have extra