12 Building a print circulations audit system

12.19. Education and training

The audits and their products will be new for the whole market.

An ABC will probably have a set of initial clients (audited publishers), but will want to increase their number. As time goes on, there will be probably changes in the rules and regulations. All this new and changing information will have to be thoroughly understood by the members of the ABC, and the market. Part of maintaining a standard is to continuously communicate it. Hence another task for an ABC is to make the market and customers aware of what the audit stands for.

Because an audit system is a large set of rules and regulations, quite often difficult to understand, one of the primary tasks of an ABC is to make, maintain, and publish a glossary of terms. This list should briefly describe the most important terms of an audit system.

No one can expect a publisher to fully understand the complexity of the audit process; therefore it is crucial to give to each new publisher a thorough audit training. The best method for such training is to write an audit training manual, or set of instructions. It is a proof of good business conduct to visit each new member of the audit system, and to have a detailed discussion of what is expected from them, in order to be audited.

One of the most important roles of an ABC is to educate the market on how one should read and understand the figures issued by the ABC. It is a very good practice to organize road-shows to advertisers and media agencies, as well as to speak up at the events of your advertising industry.

When the rules are changed, the ABC should communicate these immediately. Because these changes may have an effect on both the audit process and the way the data is published, it is necessary to talk to both publishers, and other data clients (advertisers, media agencies, etc.).

A practical suggestion: Organize seminars for the industry (if needed, separately for the publishers), issue press releases of the major changes in the audit system, and before you do, visit the individual members to explain these changes.

An ABC must produce a set of materials (online or offline) that are to be used for promotion, explanation of the services, and that target all the market players.

Overall, never forget to communicate what the ABC is doing. This effort will be well rewarded by the market.

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