Time does fly: Ad software can help

July 3, 2013

By Lisa Pfeifer

Co-owner | Fake Brains Software

Christmas is around the corner. Well, it might as well be, as each season seems to fly by. Have you set objectives only to later notice that a month has gone and no progress has been made?

Of course with more time, you could move forward. Or, maybe you’d like to be more efficient with some of your more time-intensive processes. If you take a magnifying glass to your time-consuming tasks, you will probably find a large culprit to be—managing ad orders.

Let’s look at a typical retail ad sale to track the time and energy spent performing the ‘Simple Steps’ required. Although not complicated, it is easy to skip a step when routine distractions can sweep you away.

  • Close the Deal. After the initial sales call, and maybe a couple visits later (remembering to call them “according to their opening hours and availability”), you close the deal with a campaign of one ad running in six upcoming issues.
  • Write up the Contract. Coordinate final approval with the advertiser.
  • Relay ad details. Coordinate with your design team regarding the specifics.
  • Forward proof to Advertiser. Coordinate with design team to get the ad ready.
  • Follow-up with the Advertiser for Final Approval.
  • Schedule the ad runs.

Do you sense the time and energy required—just to get to initial ad scheduling? Now you shift to ensuring runs are scheduled correctly, processing any requests for adjustments and finally, billing the ad runs. Of course, all these steps are asynchronous, each involving multiple actions. Make sure your “to-do list” is accurate.

Through it all, you will have touched one order at least a dozen times. If a change to the ad is processed, that number approaches 20.

Suppose you alone maintain 30 active advertisers and their schedules. You now have 450 tasks to track (an average of 15 steps for each order). Allowing an average of six minutes per task and assuming these orders span a four week period, you will have committed 45 hours a month to maintain the status quo.

Within a short window, even as few as three weeks, you can get ahead. Enlist your team, which may include outside resources, to aid in mapping out a strategy. Committing as few as three extra hours each week to the mission of improving your order procedures will move you forward. Within a month, your time spent ad tracking will be noticeably different, freeing your time to focus on new revenue streams, without sacrificing your existing account services.

Other publishers have similar challenges. Fortunately, there are affordable software tools built for the newspaper industry that can increase your efficiencies. They offer straight forward order processing that is easily monitored, to include tracking ads each deadline, ensuring ads are billed, and servicing advertiser communication. The benefits extend beyond the operational process, by reducing print waste, improving timely and accurate collections, and increasing renewed sales.

Imagine what you would do with 10 more hours a week to work on another project, increase your bottom line, and enjoy a greater quality of life. What would that be worth to you? Look at the tools available, and ask each vendor to demonstrate how they can help you get ahead. You are not alone. Be ready to embrace the 2013 Christmas rush.


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