8 Maximize the potential

8. Maximize the potential

As with any business initiative (and if it was not mentioned, an ABC is a business, after all), numbers count.

Because of its novelty – the technological challenges, the potential for resistance, the lack of cooperation, the need for resources – one must ensure that there are enough supporters of the ABC idea. Not only in saying “yes”, but also in getting involved – by working for, and by financing, the ABC.

Just to make it very clear: if an ABC will audit only 5 percent of all the market players, it might not be likely to survive; therefore one should shoot for 80 percent as an involvement level.

In order to maximize the potential for an ABC, please go thru this short checklist:

• Do your homework
• Maximize numbers.
• Communicate effectively.
• Build a working team.
• Manage the initiative on a project basis.
• Get expertise from outside

8.1. Do your homework

Before beginning in earnest, make sure your homework is done properly and in full. Have in hand all the information described above, and make sure you plan your actions thoroughly.

The homework should encompass:

• Continuously updating your database of potential ABC members (supporters), as well as of the market infrastructure.
• Meeting and talking to those who you know. Find out what they think about the ABC, including their arguments in favor and those against the idea.
• Build an initiative group that will take the work over, and will speak out in the market.
• Identify the people who will be of critical help in your efforts such as legal support, communications, etc.
• Get expertise from abroad, if needed.
• Manage the initiative as a project: identify the tasks, resources needed, as well as the finance issues.

8.2. Maximize numbers

Your ABC will be an organization which will have to be viable on the market, providing a good level of service to all its clients (members). The more clients an ABC will have, the better its position and market acceptance, let alone its financial sustainability.

All the market players are potential clients of the ABC; therefore, try to maximize this number.

Here’s how to do it:

• Make sure all the companies within the advertising industry are on your list. Don’t be biased by your own bad experiences, or your personal feelings. It is possible that for the time being, many of the companies will be reticent about the idea, but their mindset can be shifted and can change with time’s secret weapon – growing momentum via more critical mass, i.e. a higher and higher percentage of the industry becoming involved. You will probably need to contact each several times, so be patient and build a , good relationship.
• Communicate the ABC idea with all your means, including the early trendsetters who can become your mouthpiece. (Equip these early innovators with talking points, too.)
• Keep the doors open to all new entrants. This should be the organization of the industry; therefore, it should be open to all.
• Invite as many players as you can to your group meetings. Maximum numbers – whether early commitments or the curious – sends a positive message, even if some of your guests don’t really know what is going on. If anyone gives any sign of interest, send him/her an invitation to your next meeting.
• Disseminate the results of your work. Use your press list to send press releases to all media – make noise.

Knowing that not all market players will join your group, nor they will join later the ABC, the principle of this approach (based on the principle of probability) is the following:

• The acceptance, sustainability and quality of services of the ABC depends directly on its market share (how many titles will be audited), and the number of audited titles by (in the beginning) depends directly of the number of publishers who will join the ABC.
• The number of effective members who will join your ABC will be less than the total number of players of the market.

A good start means that you have maximized the numbers, the potential.

8.3. Communicate effectively

The most brilliant initiative is condemned to failure if it is lacking effective communications. In order to succeed, there is a need for sending the right messages to the right targets, via the right channels, at the right time.

Listen well, too. It is so crucial to be able to listen to, and give appropriate response, to the criticisms and negative messages.

By embarking upon the initiative of forming an ABC, one must keep in mind the importance of some important positive messages, striving to overcome the expectations of negative messages. Be prepared to listen, respond accurately, take more questions, hear more resistance, and listen again!

8.3.1. The strategic objectives of your communications

The objectives of your communications should support your main goal – what is the end result you want to achieve and when… namely, to initiate and establish an ABC.

Here are some strategic communication objectives:

• Expand the ABC idea within your market.
• Create a positive attitude toward the ABC concept.
• Maintain frequent and proactive communications.

8.3.2. The targets of your communications

You didn’t forget the market player’s database, did you? It’s time to use it.

Create target groups (e.g. publishers, media agencies, advertisers, research companies, universities, journalism schools, etc.). make sure you create targeted messages by focusing on each group’s interest.

Can you handle the problem? If not, consider hiring a communications expert!