Successful campaign management is essential to generating current and future revenue. In radio and tv, we sell time. Discrepancies are not only lost time, but lost revenue as well. While makegoods are convenient in making-up some lost revenue, more time is lost in doing so. Agencies often require 2 for 1 (sometimes even 3 to 1) on makegood spots.  So that’s twice as much time wasted and unable to be sold. There is also wasted time in researching and resolving the problems. Not to mention, stress for account executives and their relationships with clients.

Can discrepancies be eliminated all together? Probably not. But by establishing metrics, quality assurances, best practices and transparency, you should be able to prevent major discrepancies from occurring and close the gap on the unavoidable ones.

Metrics and goals 

Metrics and goals are not the same. The goal is the target number. The metric is a measurement of the activities and performance. For 10 years, my given goal was to be 99.5% discrepancy free. By tracking and measuring (metric) discrepancies, we were able to find that my actual number was 99.7% discrepancy free. In addition, the metrics gave us insight as to why discrepancies had occurred.

You must establish metrics and then actually measure them. If your not hitting your goal, then there is a problem and the metrics will let you know where the troubled point(s) are. What gets measured IS what gets done.

Process review

While advancements in broadcast management software have reduced some of the commonly caused discrepancies, human error will most likely always play a role in what we do as Traffic Managers. Preventative measures is key. Review and break-down each process in your workflow. There must be an action plan for every risk. If a times separation report is not being examined every time a log is finalized, the risk of not meeting client separation expectations is run. And that’s a discrepancy. Are you doing everything possible to ensure that nothing will miss? Where exactly are the discrepancies coming from?  What causes them? What’s accurate and how can accuracy be improved in each step along the way?

By reviewing process, you will be able to build a process map … and that will provide the implementation of Quality Assurances.

Best practices

You are only fulfilling Best Practices if you unwaveringly follow Quality Assurances. Best Practices provides clear descriptions of a set of processes, procedures, and guidelines. Following Best Practices makes the process repeatable and prevents mistakes from recurring.

Transparency 

Accountability and metrics should both be transparent. It’s the only way to get to the bottom of and find solutions for problems.

Transparency initiates accountability. Accountability is not necessarily blame. It is however, a diligent tool in identifying and calling to action for problems. When the right mix of personnel are asked two questions for every missed spot, great things happen. Why did it happen? And how do we prevent it from happening again?

Whenever possible, we develop meaningful, transparent metrics so that we and others may accurately gauge and guide our progress. Transparent metrics define & measure success. They provide clear pathways to improvement. Numbers and data don’t lie. Without it, there is a disconnect between performance measures and compensation and rewards.

Here’s an idea …

When an organization sets their goal at 98% or 99% or 99.5% discrepancy free, then what they are really saying is, we understand that human error happens and we are comfortable with losing that much money. 

The work of a Traffic Manager is stressful, never ending and mind numbing. Most often, they are on the low end of the pay scale and are not eligible for commission. Yet, they are responsible for the bottom line. To achieve all the above, it takes a lot of care and nurturing. Mostly, it takes engaged employees. 

So, if the station bills on average $7 Million dollars a year and the goal is 99%, that’s $70,000 that can be closed in on.

Wouldn’t all parties benefit by offering bonus incentives to close the gap on discrepancies?

.1% of 7 000 000 = 7000    ($1,000 bonus) (station recoups $6,000)

.5% of 7 000 000 = 35,000 ($5,000 bonus) (station recoups $30,000)

1% of 7 000 000 = 70,000 ($10,000 bonus) (station recoups $60,000)

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