The New Trading Relationship | From Supplier to Partner

It’s that time of year when it is traditional to shake off the post Christmas torpor and get busy forecasting, analysing and trend mapping. However, bearing in mind the wise words of Niels Bohr, “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future” I would instead like to concentrate on a key development that I have been observing from the RTÉ trading perspective.

Like all good new developments, this one is really a reiteration of a previous way of doing things before a significant disruption occurred. As we all know, the significant disruption has been the worldwide digital revolution which has affected how most of us interact and do business.  This situation represented a significant learning challenge for the advertising and media industry involving massive change, sometimes painful learnings and many wrong turns.  However, after 20 years of learnings the core tenets of advertising and brand building remain the same even if the industry jargon is different – advertisers must compete for their customers’ attention in order to have a sustainable profitable business.

What all advertisers, agencies and media owners now recognise is that the challenges and opportunities we face in order to future-proof our businesses are the same. We all need to meet objectives that deliver sustainable and profitable business models. This has created a need to connect with each other in new ways in order to develop the business partnerships that will meet these objectives.



What all advertisers, agencies and media owners now recognise is that the challenges and opportunities we face in order to future proof our businesses are the same.



The fragmentation of audiences, the complexity of platforms and services now available, as well as the increasing importance of using context to engage with, and successfully communicate with consumers, has meant that the connections and interdependencies across all our platforms, channels and products are now more important than ever.

This new landscape also means that we must build new partnerships outside of our established, mostly binary, stakeholder relationships.


So, what does all this mean for trading?

These challenges were the impetus for RTÉ to move to a trading model of one single, integrated conversation in 2017. This has allowed our customers to capture and optimise the value of the connections and synergies across all our platforms and products from TV spot to Digital Sponsorship.

It has meant that in order to develop these partnerships we want, the world of trading has changed from a ‘zero sum game’ to an integrated, lateral ‘win -win’ model.



...the world of Trading has changed from a ‘zero sum game’ to an integrated, lateral ‘win -win’ model.



Since RTÉ began trading on an integrated basis, the marketplace has responded positively to our clarity of offering, recognition of support, and transparency of value. In addition to these obvious benefits of integration, I’ve noticed two additional welcome developments:

Firstly, our one conversation trading model allows more creative thinking. We all know budgets are never big enough to do the job required.  However, as the trading team are not advocating specific media or platforms, it has allowed us to see the potential in all our media and platforms. This means that we can work on creating ways of delivering the value in that potential in order to best meet and deliver on our clients’ communication requirements.


Innovation to me is doing things differently, that build on already good ways of doing things. We call this ‘doing differently well’.  Integrated trading now means that this mindset is a key element of our market offering and is increasingly becoming part of our DNA.

The second is the strong relationships built on our customers business and communication needs. New ways of doing things require many conversations. Conversations about change, while difficult, are more interesting.  Talking and sharing perspectives mean that our relationships have changed and are continuing to change, developing into real partnerships.


For me, a partnership means a mutually beneficial, win-win, sometimes vulnerable relationship. There’s more talking, more conversations and more sharing; we are now more inside each other’s tents than ever before.

RTÉ Media Sales has since integrated its sales functions and commercial solutions to bring an even further enhanced ‘One RTÉ’ to build on closer working relationships with clients and agencies alike.

Partnership is not a guarantee of success, but in working together this way, we have much higher likelihood of mutually beneficial outcomes and a true basis for building a sustainable business.