To make sure it was ready for the 2008 presidential election, Cox Media began training its sales staff two years ago. General managers in each market picked at least one advertising executive to undergo extensive training specific to political campaigns. That way, campaigns have one go-to person they can count on to understand their needs, according to Brian Davis, Cox Media national sales manager.
The training differed slightly in each market depending on what kind of elections are center stage. For example, Arizona this year has more state races than other states where Cox operates and because it’s the home state of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, presidential dollars and the state is expected to go to him, more ad dollars are coming from the state races.
In California, said Davis, there are more issue-oriented ballot initiatives than elections, giving account executives a different slant on selling space.
Training begins with the basics; understanding the Federal Communications Commission regulations to specific market conditions, Davis said. Although the sophistication of political agencies has risen over the years, Davis said he makes sure all of Cox’s political account executives are equipped to answer any question that crops up.