9 Minimizing the obstacles

9. Minimizing the obstacles

Many arguments will be given against forming an ABC. There will be market players who are against it for business, or just personal reasons. You will experience great resistance from those who have something personal against you, or your company. Let’s address these!

9.1. Who is against, and why?

If one wants to cope with ABC resistance, it is important to find out the reasons behind the resistance, as well as identifying those who are against the ABC idea.

Big players’ influence. It is very probable that in your market (just like in other markets elsewhere in the world), the pace of development is dictated by the biggest, influential players.

So, the more big players you can get on board, and the earlier you get them on board, the higher the probability of success.

Thus, it is very important to assess early on the attitude of the key market players towards the ABC concept. It is even more important to identify the position of the big publishers. Assess early, and for those big players who do not commit early, keep tracking and documenting their positions. Note any shifts in reasons for not making the commitment and why.

There are two types of negative attitudes: rational (related to business issues, money, etc.), and less rational (rather personal). Some reasoning against the ABC may be based on ignorance – a lack of knowledge and associated hearsay). Nonetheless, be aware that you cannot get on board anyone by characterizing their reasoning in a negative way! Make sure you can differentiate between sincere opposition and specious obstruction based on hidden interests.

Again, the database you’ve created earlier can be your best friend. Make sure you use it, and maintain the resistance-related information. Don’t forget to check the table in the 9.3.5 paragraph.

9.2. Build up your case

It is certainly possible to identify and group the types of negative arguments. Do so, and then build up specific talking points to refute each type.

Go thru the list in paragraph 8.3.5. See if you find answers there. If not, update the list with your own new arguments. If you feel unsure about your counterpoints, get some help. If you are desperate, contact the IFABC. Someone at the IFABC can surely give you the right answer.

Make sure you save these materials for later use. This set of documents represents good input for the ABC communications later on.

Whichever counterpoints you use, make sure to focus on the benefits associated with the ABC.

9.3. Talk to the market

Meet and talk to people. It is the best way to find out what is on peoples’ minds, and to convince them with the facts.

Keep a good relationship with influential journalists. Explore their perspectives, as their sources have presented them. This will help you a lot of time, and the journalist should be fairly objective…

9.4. Keep the doors open

Be open to all criticisms. Make sure the media market knows of your willingness to listen, to explore new ideas and creative solutions that will be encountered while forming an ABC. Make sure you listen to any question, be it hearsay and negative. Be confident enough to reply to your fiercest competitor, who is banging you with negative thoughts. Keep the sign on the door: We’re open minded and ready to work with you.

9.5. Involve the opponents

The best way to build momentum for the ABC initiative is to get your competitors involved in the work.

The market will react in a positive way, when it sees competitors working toward a common goal that is good for the industry. It is the “wow” these people can work together that will yield new and unexpected shifts from a negative to a positive, full-fledged commitment.

You may by surprised how things can go. Some would like to join the group just because they are curious, some of them – especially market leaders – do not want to miss anything new happening in their market, and some will come on board just because someone else is already there. Remember that early innovators are highly influential. Get a testimonial statement to use in your talking points whenever possible.

Keep a very open mind to these things! Be ready to invite into the ABC group those people who most view as beyond approach.

The worse thing that can happen to you is to talk to a very irritating person, who you totally dislike (this may be mutual). If you agree by now that an ABC is all about cooperation and openness, it is about time you prove it to yourself, as well as to others: sit down and talk to that person!

Do not forget that in the long run, you want to have a wide array of market players joining the ABC. Many competitors will be part of it. Commence with the objective of diverse membership immediately? Don’t wait!