15 Elements of an Effective Audience Development Program
#2 Staff who are compensated fairly and continue to learn are challenged and are more likely to stay with your company (not indefinitely, but longer than without fair compensation and ongoing training).
Define, document and collaborate. Even the best of audience developers should not be expected or allowed to run solo. And, in fairness, I know few who want to do so. More often than not, we have created invisible silos—meaning we encourage internal collaboration or teamwork, but our organizational structure, policies and, at times, even compensation plans, do not encourage collaboration, innovation or business development.
#3 Do you have well-defined and current internal processes and policies in place?
#4 Are there adequate systems and software to support audience development? (For example, fulfillment/database management, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, financial model, online analytics, management dashboard, etc.)
#5 Do you foster communication and collaboration between departments: audience development/content creators/advertising/etc.?
This is not an attempt to oversimplify marketing. It's about fundamentals and integration within audience development. Who has cast a clear vision for what the company hopes to achieve in the next couple years? What is the strategy for audience development that serves that vision? What are the key assumptions and goals for the program? What tools (channels) will be used to achieve the goals? Who are your partners that can help you get there?
#6 Vision, strategy and goals.
#7 Tools (offline: direct mail, telemarketing, inserts, single copies, etc.; and online: e-mail, organic search, paid search, website, social media, etc.]
#8 Partners (vendors, agencies, aligned member organizations, business/retailers, advertisers, etc.). Look for complementary competencies, expanded opportunities, opportunity to leverage existing resources and how to minimize new costs.
To successfully do their jobs, audience developers should be allowed (and expected) to create an annual or semi-annual budget that is based on a plan, and line items in that budget should point back to the plan. And this is zero-based budgeting that refers to that plan, not an arbitrary goal or a percentage based on the prior year budget. Beyond the budget, it's very valuable for audience developers to forecast scenarios to assist in making decisions about pricing, new products, etc.
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.