There has been a sea change in the wider marketing world that goes
strangely unrecognised at ITV. The demand from boardrooms for a measured
return from marketing budgets means ways of doing business must be
Yet ITV's sales operation is stuck in a time warp of ten years ago. The
problems have been amplified by economic conditions, but the fall in
revenue cannot be blamed solely on these. It has been exaggerated by a
failure to sell ITV as a compelling investment for advertisers over
other TV channels, media choices and other marketing options
ITV's customers know that when a business has difficulties, you get out
there and sell - with an understanding of individual customers' needs,
with flexible propositions and with promotions that are sensitive to
their business reality.
Instead, ITV sales is stuck in the office, manipulating data, knocking
its customers with penalties and payment in advance demands.
The responses from Carlton - denying complacency in the sales force -
and Granada - not understanding the criticisms levelled at ITV's sales
operations - illustrate the malaise in ITV.
The solution is in ITV's hands. Get out there and sell. To help, here's
a tangible 20-point action plan to increase income and improve
BILLETT'S 20 STEPS TO IMPROVING ITV'S AD REVENUES
1. Re-emphasise off-invoice volume discounts for committed big-spending
2. Market introductory discounts for new or returning customers.
3. Reward current customers with incentives for increasing spend.
4. If these cause an imbalance in your trading books, get ready to write
some cheques now, rather than lose customers forever.
5. Force a reappraisal of TV from advertisers using other media. "Are
you getting a year-on-year decrease in press costs?" is the first
question a TV salesman should be asking. The response, in most cases, is
6. Drop the advance booking discount deadline to four weeks.
7. Repackage daytime as a powerful medium for the smaller housewife-
targeted and direct response brands.
8. Share some of the risk with these advertisers on a joint profit/loss
9. Free use of ITV off-screen interactive resources for forward-looking
advertisers to accelerate learning.
10. Make use of tvSpan. No-one hears of it. Is it proving the worth of
an ITV investment? Begin to market the wealth of case histories.
11. Market the evidence of successful ITV for financial, retail,
automotive and other smaller advertisers.
12. Sell on volume and stop selling share of ITV as a metric.
13. Publish channel revenue on a quarterly basis to improve campaign
14. Slim down the agency sales staff or get them on the road meeting
15. Prove you are investing in programmes. Create and sell a better
advertising environment - programme packages not just audiences.
16. Sell TV's role as a key ingredient in mixed-media
17. Conduct research to show ITV's contribution to mixed-media
18. Slim down the clutter and deliver tracking research for all
marketers to prove ITV advertising messages work more effectively.
19. Market the big spread in prices now available to TV advertisers;
contrast TV's improved value in 2001 with other media and tackle the
belief that TV is expensive.
20. Join alternative media owners to develop new advertiser
propositions. Don't just criticise them.