Case Study: How TEN: The Enthusiast Network Ended the Paper Chase
[Sponsored] A game plan for increasing revenue, improving efficiency, and eliminating errors.
TEN: The Enthusiast Network – a premier collection of automotive and action/adventure sports brands that includes Surfer, Transworld Skateboarding, Motor Trend and Hot Rod – seriously needed to get its advertising operations in gear.
In addition to its print magazines, TEN had expanded its platforms to include more than 44 websites, 50 annual events and a subscription video service. But its ad ops remained mired in an email-and-folder based management system that put a drag on print revenue and prevented the company from taking advantage of its broadening digital reach.
The root of the problem was that TEN’s ad operations relied on an unwieldy paper chain. Proposals, contracts, insertion orders, creative materials and other critical documents were accepted and passed hand-to-hand via email and various file-transfer services, leading to errors and lost or misplaced communications.
Complicating the process was a workflow driven by title. A single campaign would be handled by as many as 12 people, each performing the same task and processing the same paperwork and creative. Valuable time was wasted searching for files, distributing materials and chasing after missing or incomplete documents.
And TEN’s billing process was clumsy and labor intensive. Digital documents were printed and organized into paper folders by title and issue for billing reviews, slowing the entire operation.
Recognizing that its existing ad-ops structure stood in the way of growth and profits, senior management at TEN sought a solution that would improve workflow, communications and efficiency, and enable their ad-ops team to be more responsive to both their advertising customers and their sales staff.
Armed with 30 years of experience, Breeze Advertising Solutions brought more than technology to TEN. They offered a whole new approach, starting with a complete, on-site investigation to determine where TEN’s existing operations bogged down. “We did a really thorough investigation of our workflow,” said Pauline Atwood, Senior Director, Operations, TEN. “We examined every aspect of our operation, from proposal, to when an order is booked, all the way to billing.” At the end of the analysis, management was presented with a current state assessment that mapped out key processes and detailed where operational benefits and savings could be realized.
“We looked at every vendor and solution that was out there,” Atwood said. “The interesting part of Breeze is integrated seamlessly with our Élan billing system from Media Services Group. It gave us the ability to to expose orders to customers, and the workflow aspect was really appealing.” Other portal-based solutions offered little more than a queue in which ad materials sat until someone searched for them. Better than relying on email, perhaps, but not enough.
Further, Breeze’s automated alerts and document management tools keep TEN’s campaigns, whether digital, video, events or print, moving from start to finish.
Breeze Advertising Solutions presented TEN with a new approach that that removed artificial walls in sales, ad operations, and accounting. Processing of insertion orders, ad materials and billing were streamlined through the integration with Élan. Key business information previously scattered across multiple was centrally accessible in Breeze. Backed up by a comprehensive suite of ad-management tools, the Breeze solution allowed TEN to revamp its workflow, reduce errors, improve customer satisfaction, cut costs and set the stage for increased sales.
And with a central group workflow approach, sales reps, ad-ops staff, billers and advertisers alike can access insertion orders and contracts in the Breeze system. Guesswork is eliminated and so is the need for departments to call on each other for critical business information. Campaigns move forward even if the point person on the account is unavailable, and browser, tablet and mobile technology allows full access for reps on the road.
The Breeze dashboard allows billers immediate access all contracts, agreements and related information. Missing signatures or documentation can be quickly addressed. Credit status feeds into the system as well, and integration with PayPal allows prepayment.
Through Breeze’s web-based advertiser-access point, customers become active participants in the process as well. Advertisers can use it to submit creative materials, review and mark up proofs, sign insertion orders, review e-tearsheets and view campaign history. “Errors have gone down to zero,” Atwood said. And by significantly reducing billing errors, Breeze not only saved processing time but boosted revenue previously lost through mistakes. “Breeze was more than a portal,” Atwood said. “It completely changed our workflow from start to finish.”
And on the cost side, better communications, shared document access, and an efficient, automated workflow allowed TEN to re-allocate staff and resources from print to their digital operations.
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
- Enthusiast publisher of 44 magazines and media brands, 50 annual events in the automotive, entertainment and action sports categories
- Total audience: 162M+
- Platforms: Print, Digital, Video, Events
Since 1989, Jon has been involved in streamlining and automating advertising operations in the media industry. He is the president of CNI, a company devoted to helping media companies more readily adopt new technologies and drive more revenues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.