While there are many variables that cement the bond between buyers and sellers in the advertising business, including responsiveness, transparency, and honesty, when things don’t go exactly right, trust is built with swift, equitable resolution. In the world of Emerging Media, trust is also developed when an organization proves to be a lighthouse in the chaotic storm of an exponentially disruptive media landscape.

The Myers Report on Advertiser and Agency Executives’ Perceptions of Media Sales Organizations recently recognized advanced TV platform Cadent for leadership among Advertiser Respondents when it comes to the question of “Do you trust in the ad sales team’s ability to reliably deliver on promises.” Cadent President of Sales and CRO Jim Tricarico has made trust a pillar of its sales strategy as the company delivers its expanded portfolio of products and services across the advanced television, addressable, over-the-top (OTT) and linear media ecosystem.

Tricarico credits the strong results in trust from The Myers Report survey to Cadent’s focus on strategy and a media agnostic approach, and also a doubling down on the hiring of seasoned industry experts with backgrounds in digital, traditional network and advanced TV. With clients, he says, “Instead of pushing our agenda, we listen to build value and relationships. We have no horse in the race. We’re doing what’s best for the client based on the data, and we work with everyone.”

Tricarico reports that the client base for Cadent and advanced television includes several categories, such as consumer packaged goods and insurance, that have been less impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Myers Report, in its recently updated economic report, forecast Advanced TV as one of the few growth media for 2020 at 12% increases, compared to originally projected 36% growth.

During this especially disruptive time, Tricarico believes Cadent’s focus on direct client outreach is paying dividends. “The reduction of distractions coupled with the use of video conferencing has proven a benefit,” he says. “We always like to hear directly from our clients. Meetings have been more strategic, succinct and more conversational.” And, of course, as kids or dogs run by on Zoom videos, Tricarico says conversations include more of the personal along with the professional.

Flexibility is an industry buzzword for a reason

Flexibility is more important than ever, and during the COVID-19 crisis, marketers are demanding it.

Without knowing what the media environment will look like in six months, brand and agency partners want to be more nimble and react to the market more quickly, Tricarico says. With that in mind, Cadent has instituted several creative “out-of-the-box” solutions to support their brand partners’ needs. Tricarico outlined an OTT sports alternative package to meet marketers’ needs to replace lost sports GRPs. Cadent also introduced the idea of a “flexfront,” positioning flexibility as a key commitment to its service offerings during this year’s negotiations. “We are working with each client to tailor the approach to their specific needs,” he advises. The flexfront plan offers clients two-week rolling windows during which clients can either cancel or expand their buys.

“If marketers feel they have the flexibility they need now, as things improve, they will remember who supported them,” Tricarico says. “Now, more than ever, is the time to be there for clients.”

Tricarico believes that the crisis has reinforced the growth opportunity for addressable media. “As businesses re-open we’re likely to see a great deal of regionalization in media buying. The messages in one region or market may not be the message that’s relevant to other areas. There is greater need for flexibility and an even greater sense of security in addressable media.”

For marketers focused on incorporating more data into their television buys in the next few months, Tricarico expects to see phased strategies with an emphasis on getting back into the market with the right message, as well as an even greater emphasis on data-driven advertising. Earlier this year, Cadent acquired data activation platform 4INFO, adding over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) video buying capabilities to the platform.

“OTT will continue to be the darling of our industry this year, and our acquisition [of 4INFO] put us squarely in the cross-channel conversation,” Tricarico said.

As Tricarico looks to a future beyond the pandemic, he believes the lessons learned and the relationships built now will translate positively. “While every company and individual is facing challenges, we’re focused on being responsive, knowledgeable, flexible and proving that we can be trusted partners. These are qualities that will serve us well beyond the pandemic.”