In September 2000, a sales director - Theresa Coligan - was appointed. After all sales staff and internal and external customers were consulted, a rescue plan was put in place. The team aimed to be a market-leading sales team, the first port of call for creative solutions and a company that people most want to work for.
Training and support was given internally, and apologies were made to clients for past mistakes and future plans explained. These included a number of customer-focused initiatives: customer service charters, monthly newsletters, a "creative projects director" role to help customers improve cut-through in magazines and free insight presentations on key audiences and media.
Emap Advertising also launched a large-scale trade marketing offensive to engage its customers. The most successful was the FHM Media Hunks and Honeys contest.
Two years on, Emap Advertising's revenues have grown by 13 per cent. Yield is up 6 per cent year on year despite FHM - which accounts for more than 20 per cent of the company's revenue - losing 20 per cent of its circulation. Revenues of Heat are up by 106 per cent and its yield up 67 per cent while Kerrang! and Empire have seen revenues grow by 55 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.
Another cause for optimism is the results of an independent survey of 200 customers which found that Emap was the most respected sales team in the market, fending off the challenges of IPC, The National Magazine Company, Conde Nast, BBC and Attic. Of the same group, Emap was also recognised as the most creative sales team. As for internal satisfaction, 86 per cent of staff said they really enjoyed working at Emap Advertising Magazine.
"Given its difficult start in life, the Emap magazines sales team is now in an incredible place," MediaCom's head of press, Steve Goodman, says. "It has for some time been cultivating a culture of trying to understand the true objectives of a client's advertising activity and looking to provide really unique solutions to achieve those objectives. It shows a level of care and attention to detail rarely seen by other sales forces."
Four print sales teams were commended showing how tough it was for the judges in this category.
Emap Men's Lifestyle and Entertainment Creative Solutions set out to create briefs themselves rather than simply react to them. "We went to FHM with a blank sheet of paper knowing we wanted to raise the profile of our F1 sponsorship," JP Murphy, the product manager of Foster's, said.
Associated Newspapers' freesheet Metro increased its display revenues by 18 per cent year on year. It put its success down to a greater client focus, innovative sales solutions, accountability and an intimate knowledge of its readers.
After re-engineering its central sales team, IPC Corporate saw spend from key accounts rise by 8.3 per cent this year. Sponsorship revenues grew by 288 per cent and revenues from inserts and off-the-page solutions rose 101 per cent.
And The Sun recorded its best ever year for ad revenue, at a time when it implemented a ratecard increase.