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Panpa Bulletin : June 2006
30 | PANPA BULLETIN June 2006 The last thing you want to hear is a deep and mean- ingful technical talk about newspaper computer systems, that in the IT world equates to a serious case of verbal diarrhoea. This type of talk is designed to isolate the ordinary user from ever understanding exactly what it is they are talking about in the first place and ensures the rule of the FUD factor - Fear, Uncer- tainty and Doubt. I do not make claim to any holy grail answers but base my observations on many years in the industry. I feel there are cost- effective solutions at a much cheaper price than some offered in today's high speed world of modern communications sys- tems. The worst thing in the world is acronyms, talk of bits, bobs, bytes and bollocks. My definition of good Internet Technology is an internet-based solution that enables sales, pro- duction, technical and manage- ment to communicate instantly across a web-based structure to access current information and communicate easily with other users. The access points and graphic user interface should be uniform and simple with exceptional training given across the board. Internet web-based technol- ogy basically means that anyone can interact with any system, locally or worldwide, if they are connected to a reasonable speed broadband Internet connection. Internet technology will al- low for interactions using web browsers such as Internet Ex- plorer, to give access to data, video and voice communica- tions for newspapers and cus- tomers alike, depending on the security standards determined and employed by management. The benefit is reduced costs by process elimination, reduced IT management costs and greater selling efficiencies. Using an industry standard approach with web browser- based interfaces will ensure ease of use and transparent opera- tions with a minimal training re- quirement - music to the ears of most sales reps. Sales must have access to the internet at the same speed as any other department. Just be- cause they are in sales it does not mean that their requirements are less. In fact with the modern sales resources available on the internet they may need more speed. It is vital that all sales reps have instant access to book- ing information. Ideally at their finger tips, access to an interac- tive dummy of every advertising space available throughout the company's publications, nation- ally and internationally, but in reality how many have this op- portunity? I hear over and over again, the one great bane of a sales rep's life is not having updated, in- stant access to information of their clients such as names, tel- ephone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses, credit status and specific company details. How easy would a feature be if all possible clients could be identified within seconds, letters of contract and e-mails sent au- tomatically and confirmations received directly to the sales manager and sales rep? The need for information harvesting for greater, more in- formed sales opportunities is ever more present, coupled to simple fast and efficient meth- ods employed to dissect the in- formation once accessed, and use of the information quickly and efficiently. Sales reps need access to all historical advertising data in- cluding rates, ad numbers, sales comments, communication history, in fact anything where activity has taken place with the client. But in reality this is not the case and quite often ne- cessitates wasting time and ef- fort searching through manual records or old business cards. Digital asset management (DAM) Companies may not realise but historical data of advertis- ing material, editorial, pictures and logos are a large financial asset to any company. It is the efficient storage and easy online distribution of these assets that a web-based system makes far more cost effective. High speed, easy access to these digital assets once stored will become an important part of the sales cycle because digital asset management allows sales reps and customers to retrieve their individual data online for the production of advertising material, or access to general information instantly and on demand. The digital asset management systems available range from hundreds of thousands of dol- lars to free depending on the time and resources IT has to in- vestigate the opportunities. But make no mistake the digital as- set management and web-based distribution of data is growing and becoming a reality in many newspapers today. Digital asset management will continue to grow in its use and ease of operations and incorpo- rate many other aspects of news- paper database systems that are presently run as stand alone and which certainly do not give true connectivity to users. Sales reps should never be made to design advertising ma- terial. They are rarely competent at the intricate design require- ments now demanded and most would regard the design of ads as a pain in the arse, taking them away from their role of selling space and making commis- sions. A large amount of advertising material is now provided elec- tronically but with any internal ad make-up requirements, de- signs by an artist or by produc- tion can be professionally com- pleted and returned via internet communications directly to the customer and sales rep as an electronic file. Alternatively there are sys- tems such as AdLizard that allow advertising make-up by custom- ers across the internet as though they were directly connected to production. Once the proofing cycle is completed to the client and elec- tronically signed off, the ad can quite easily be electronically at- tached to a predetermined place on the page by the sales rep. But then who in produc- tion has the nerve to let sales reps book advertising mate- rial directly and near deadline without a fuss? Perhaps more faith in the booking system will ensure sales reps can at last get on with the sole job of selling advertising concepts of the highest quality without pandering to production or IT wants. Importantly, it is up to sales reps to stick to any produc- tion routine agreed should a web-based internet system be implemented, but then there is always the final ad that desper- ately needs publishing..... and of course the commission...... Pippa leary, Product and Marketing Director - news and Content, fairfax Digital explains how simple it is to move your marketing into the 21st century. How to make money online Pippa Leary, Product and Marketing Director - News and Content, Fairfax explains how simple it is to move your marketing into the 21st century.