How To Barter For Advertising
Stout. former writer for BarterNews
Bartering 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
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,
Direct trades. The media might accept our goods and
services in a one-to-one trade. The possibilities
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
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 us.
Talk shows. As with
press releases, we are providing a service --
filling a talk show's schedule -- in exchange for
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 nationwide.
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 space.
We can 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.
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, it will choose to broadcast our
ads in the time-slots which it couldn't sell for
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 rooms.