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The BizI Wish..

The holiday season is here! I hope your local stores are packed with last-minute shoppers and that all the mall Santas are getting an earful from children who have no idea that a couple of video games cost more than a week's worth of groceries.

The televised onslaught of year-ender pieces (you know, "insert Enron scandal SOT here"), New Year's resolutions, and 2003 wish lists are right around the corner. So, what's on your wish list for next year? Or more importantly, what's on the wish list of those with whom you do business?

Business owners (aka, clients):
I wish...

*TV production wasn't so expensive.
*My sales offer could be updated for my TV campaigns as easily as it is for my other media.
*I had more people coming in my doors.
*That my reps actually did what they told me they were going to do.

Advertising agency directors and media buyers:
I wish...

*Our clients would decide on an advertising budget and not change it.
*Our clients would decide on a strategic direction and message and stick to it for more than one month.
*Our business was more honest.
*My sales reps would keep me better informed. I need to know about special programming and promotional opportunities. I need to know my commercials were pre-empted before my monthly invoice arrives from the station.
*I could receive better promotional ideas from my reps to give to my clients.

TV sales account executives:
I wish...

*That clients and buyers would plan ahead and book earlier.
*That our business was more honest. I can accept losing out to another station on a buy that is "apples-to-apples" compared and fair. But to lose a buy because a competitor threw in bonus spots that hypothetically will deliver ratings, but then end up running at 3 a.m., well, that's not right.
*That the "cable fable" of equating circulation to actual viewership would end.
*That on agency buys, we had more information about what the client's goals are. Your TV rep has a lot of resources available, and could have exactly what the client wants!

Do you recognize any of these? My advice for next year is to forget your wish list. For a prosperous 2003, focus on the needs of your clients, and those of the media-buying community. The most successful stations and account executives recognize that our business still values a service-oriented sale.

The week between Christmas and New Year's is usually pretty quiet. Instead of cleaning out your files, make a point of asking your clients "what's on your wish list for next year?" Do it, and you'll be better prepared for 2003.

Note: The writer's opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the position of HBI, Inc. Jeffrey Ulrich is a member of the sales team at WHEC, Rochester, NY. He can be reached through his website: or