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Why Google or Amazon Would Screw Up Pandora

Pandora's sales staff does this daily. And Westergren, who tells the story better than anybody, travels the country doing the same. The company takes part in old-fashioned, boots on the ground, hand shaking, relationship building, face-to-face selling.

Nobody in the media or analyst community, present company excluded, talks about the existence, let alone the power of this approach.

At the local and regional level, Pandora often calls on clients who have only done local radio -- and maybe local television and/or print media -- for decades. Historically and automatically, that's where their ad budgets go cycle after cycle.

Think about the types of companies Pandora does or can call on. Your geographic location and experiences dictate whether or not you have heard of these iconic brands. Nobody Beats the Wiz. Crazy Eddie (R.I.P). Mancini's Sleepworld. New Yorkers and San Francisco Bay Area residents best know these names (and Seinfeld fans know the Wiz), but everybody knows similar icons.

It's a slow build. Not just getting the infrastructure of sales offices off of the ground, but persuading these businesses to change what they have been doing for ages and allocate at least some of their advertising budget away from terrestrial radio, local television or print and to Pandora.

Pandora continues to experience incredible success selling local as well as at the more formal national and agency level. There are several reasons why.

Pandora provides more effective advertising solutions than terrestrial radio. When you consider Pandora's user base, dominance in mobile, multi-platform capabilities and ability to target by age, location and musical taste, it's no surprise it can lure advertisers away from less effective channels.

As Pandora Chairman and CEO Joe Kennedy explained on the company's recent conference call, when you buy a terrestrial radio ad, plenty of people who you do not want to or should not target hear your ad. With Pandora, you get much more bang for your buck.

And, again, there's the Westergren factor. When I worked in radio, sales people had closers. If a client was on the fence, they brought somebody or something with them to the crucial next meeting to seal the deal. Westergren is Pandora's closer.

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