15 Elements of an Effective Audience Development Program
For just a moment, let's put trends and tips aside, and take inventory of what constitutes a good audience development program. As our customers (readers, visitors, buyers, members, etc.) call for more and better in a world that is changing at breakneck pace, management expectations also continue to rise. Audience developers have more channels, tools and data to work with than ever before. While being told how easy it is to reach, engage and monetize customers, it has never been more difficult.
"There is more pressure than ever to deliver an audience in the best financial manner. With advertising sales down, return on investment is being scrutinized more," according to Nicole Bowman of Bowman Circulation Marketing. "You used to have a few years to become profitable with a source, but now profitability is often expected in year one."
Audience developers—whether running a department with one title and employee (self) or multiple brands and divisions—can benefit by running a disciplined program. Business consultant and author Jim Collins, whose book "Good to Great" sold 2.5 million copies, described great companies as disciplined people engaged in disciplined thought and disciplined action.
Let's look at what it takes to create or retool a great audience development program for your company or organization. Evaluate your own program to see where you need work.
People and Learning
Putting the right people on the team with ongoing training is most important. A wide latitude exists in determining who is or might be a good hire, but be sensible. Whether you are marketing offline, online, face-to-face or all of these, audience development requires skill sets that are not honed overnight, nor with one campaign success. While many publishers recognize and respect the importance of this role, many still do not.
#1 Your staff needs education and training to stay relevant to be able to deliver results.
Lou Ann Sabatier has 35 years of experience in the publishing industry. Ms. Sabatier has been deeply involved in all aspects of publishing; including strategic planning,business development, business and financial management, audience development, advertising sales, digital media and operations management. Currently Ms. Sabatier is Principal at Sabatier Consulting and Communications Director of 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative.