8 Maximize the potential

8.3.3. The messages

The ABC-related messages must be derived from the values noted above. One should take enough care to formulate messages which are positive, that encourage cooperation, and that focus on the benefits of each market sector.

Here is a list of prospective message themes to consider:

• Work together; build cohesion and trust.
• We will finally have audited figures.
• We (all) need credible figures.
• We will create an industry standard together.
• We are open to any idea coming from the market.
• The ABC will be owned and run by, and for the benefit of us, the industry.
• The ABC – it’s the source of credible numbers.
• The ABC will most likely be the first credible media information source in our country.
• The more credible, and the more successful the ABC, the more successful we (publishers) will be.
• Do you (advertisers, agencies) know how much of your money is spent on a legitimate cost basis?
• The press stands for truth, so must the ABC.

It is a matter of due diligence to work creatively to expand this thematic list, and/or adapt it more to your market situation.

8.3.4. Channels of communications

Because you are probably part of the media/advertising industry in you country, you will probably know very well which communications channels are available. And you probably have your own resources, or your own friends who can give you a hand. I would like to discuss just a few, alternative/special channels.

Set up an “ABC initiative” blog, and make sure you write in it. Be prepared to get replies, and make sure you comment on them.

Create a dialogue online and use email to reinforce the contacts made, but in a more personal and detailed way. The email will allow you to target each and every publisher, advertiser, and agency, and their unique concerns

Produce a small “ABC initiative” leaflet, containing the essentials of your ABC initiative. This is a great tool to leave behind any meeting you have. And have this available in pdf format to send out via email. Remember to reinforce all formats of messaging with other types of messaging.

Make an “ ABC initiative” microwebsite, which links to other websites (and online platforms) and posted comments, an research summaries, and other informative articles, etc.

Get business journalists to report and write about the issue. If you have any marketing-specialized trade magazine, make sure that they are also writing about the ABC concept.

Be prepared to place the bug in the ears of your business partners. You probably meet a lot of people from the industry – do not forget to mention the ABC, each and every time.

If you have enough resources, or can find a sponsor, organize a gathering for the key market players, where you discuss the ABC idea. And do this in all key markets in your country.

Try to speak up at your industry’s meetings, conferences. Invite some foreign ABC (IFABC) executive to make a presentation.
If possible, keep the interaction with your targets by making and sending them a newsletter, on a say, monthly basis. This newsletter should be available in print and online.

Develop an SMS – Short Message Service – for mobile and smart phone use. And repeat the messaging and information that appears on your blog, in email blasts, and in print. This duplication is crucial. Use this SMS in a tactical way; use it once you believe that the contact or interaction with a prospective member was positive.

Whichever channels you will use, it is important to keep up the communications pressure. Do not open a communications channel, if you are not absolutely sure you can maintain it.

8.3.5. Do not forget the feedback

Make sure you keep an open ear to the signs coming from the market. You will get a mix of messages, some will be positive, some will be negative.

You will probable hear a long array of NOs, so be prepared to react:

Argument

Counter argument

We will never be able to work together (I hate this guy). As long as we can identify some common goals, we may change our minds. Let’s put aside our disagreements, and see what do we have in common.
In our country there is no culture for this type of cooperation. Culture can change. Would you like to be the first to prove it can? Maybe you will find others who think the same way.
If “X” publisher (competitor) will not join, I won’t either. Take the advantage of being part of the initiative before them. You may find this as a good PR for your company. You may want to visit “X” competitor and ask him/her to join the initiative.
Why should I give a free lunch to my competition (e.g. work on a project, which competition will join later on)? Someone must pay the tuition fees. If not you, there will be someone else who will do it, and eventually get the credit for it. A market leader must always be progressive, and take the initiative.
It is too expensive. What is expensive? How do you know how much it will actually cost? Let’s first build a project, budget it, then we will come back to the money issue.
We don’t know how to do it There are people around the globe who can help you. Contact the IFABC and ask them to help. You will surely get the help that you need.
It is just too much work for me, I have my business to run. Indeed. Why don’t you co-opt some more people and spread out the workload? You may find someone young and adept to help you for nothing, or just inexpensively.
There is no way I will audit my figures, while my competitors will not. Remember, your goal isn’t to hide your figures. Your competitors know these anyhow. What we are talking about here is to audit them, so they become credible to your clients.
Our clients (advertisers and/or advertising agencies) do not need the ABC; they work on paybacks. Is this what they all do? If not, talk to those who are asking for audited figures.
It is mainly the advertisers and/or advertising agencies who need audited figures, not us (publishers) Not at all, since it is you (the publishers) who are selling to them.
My circulation is much lower than the big players. Why should I audit them? I am sure I will lose business this way. Since your publication exists, it means it serves a market (your readers and advertisers). Put this in the perspective of your market, not other’s. Will the audit improve your market position?
I don’t think this will bring me (publisher) more business. Maybe not. But for sure, you will stop giving irrational discounts, while your (non-audited) competitors will be forced to lower their offers.
Advertiser and/or media agency: “Let publishers bother with this. After all, it is them who shall be audited.” True, but it is a risk for you to let publishers only set up an audit system. Your role is to be there, and help manage the process. At the end of the day, it will be you who will work with those figures.