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Streamlining Political Pricing for Sales Managers

Sales Managers, how much time did you spend on pricing during the 2020 political cycle? It probably felt like a full-time job when you consider the hours spent setting rates, reevaluating and updating those rates, analyzing orders, monitoring LURs, and meeting with your sales team to discuss pricing. 

There’s no denying that political dollars are a welcome relief following soft sales years. Yet staying on top of political rates and compliance all while paying careful attention to how you price your core business IS.A.LOT.  And it perfectly exemplifies the love/hate relationship managers have with political years. 

Given the complexity of political and all the aspects at play, people often ask us for advice on how to develop an effective pricing strategy during political. 

The first step and arguably the most important part of setting your strategy is understanding your political landscape and the impact it’s expected to have on your market and stations. That includes evaluating:

  • How much political are you expecting? 
  • When are you expecting it?
  • How much do you expect to come from candidate vs. issue?
  • How much impact will political business have on the rates you are able to achieve on your core business? 
  • How much do you expect political demand to impact clearance on your core business?
  • What longer term risks are you willing to take on with your core business to maximize dollars achieved during political season?   

And then when you feel confident in the above (or can at least admit you need to do more research), you can plan your pricing strategy across candidate, issue, and core:

  • Candidate Pricing: Nothing groundbreaking here, but setting this rate card really comes down to having your sh!% together – evaluate your booked LURs, proactively monitor compliance, review spending on previous races and spend projections for upcoming races, and consider your political rates and LURs from previous elections. 
  • Issue: This represents your highest rates but potentially your lowest volume of business (depending on the election).  Given there’s no LUR regulation, it’s ripe for dynamic (and premium) pricing given PACs willingness to pay is through the roof. 
  • Core Business: Two things often happen to core business during political windows. 
    • Aside from the all-consuming LUR maintenance it can become an afterthought OR
    • The focus shifts to the mad scramble to keep preemptions levels from being shockingly high. 

Yet if managed correctly, it could be the cherry on top during political. Given you will be inherently capacity constrained, pricing your core business is also ripe for dynamic pricing. But people often start thinking about it too late and next thing you know, 30% of the core business is already booked and in danger of not clearing once political orders start hitting. So while there will always be uncertainty around how much political demand will land, effectively pricing your core business early and often is critical to minimize animosity with your long-standing clients, who you will need in the proceeding months/year. 

But let’s be honest. There are so many aspects to pricing during a political year that it’s nearly impossible for the human brain to account for all the factors. So, what’s the best approach?


The good news is that major advancements have been made since 2020 in the fields of automation and AI for media. That includes the political suite we’ve rolled out in RateOptics, which automates those painstaking tasks and pricing strategies mentioned above.

Want to actually get some sleep during your next political window? Schedule some time to talk political with a RateOptics expert. 

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