I see lots of startups whose business plans revolve around selling high-value ad space to brand advertisers. At first glance, this makes a lot of sense. Everyone knows that millions of dollars that are currently spent on television need to eventually migrate online, as TV viewership declines and overall media attention is fragmented. So many startups hope to benefit from that seismic trend.
Unfortunately, it's a lot easier said than done. Big-time media buying is a complex ecosystem that includes many entrenched players. If you want a piece of that very big pie, you need to know who the actors are, how they work with each other, and how they all get paid. You also need to know what each one cares about, which metrics they look at (or studiously ignore). What are the job titles of the people you need to convince? Should you focus on brand managers or agency buyers?
And once you understand who to talk to, you'll also need to know how to convince them to do what you want. You'd better be able to speak their language and translate what your product does into benefits that they understand. The lifeless husks of many startups lie in waste around these dangerous shores.
Luckily, the guys at 750 Industries turned me on to a great presentation that provides a primer on the whole advertising industry. It's particularly focused on the pre-digital part of the business, where most of the money is still spent. Do you know the difference between Client Briefing, Strategic Planning, Media Buying, and Post Monitoring? If not, you might want to take a look.