More Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity

If you were lucky enough to have read my first article discussing the management of earned media capacity you’ve most likely been waiting with bated breath for this follow-up. This time around we’ll dive into different types of strategies and “capacity thieves.”

As in the first article, we define capacity as “the ability to work off an existing demand.” In this definition it is clear that capacity and demand are at odds. Our goal to make them meet and become friends. Two opposing strategies are available to us to make this a reality. More Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity image earned media chaseMore Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity

The Chase Strategy

The Chase Strategy works to control the level of capacity by changing the resources it relies on. These resources can be anything that affects the amount of capacity, or ability to work off demand. Number of hours worked, number of service providers, number of employees, transfer of resources (pulling capacity from one part of a process to help another)—these are all elements that affect the amount of capacity a service organization might have.

It sounds simple, right? If you need to meet more demand, just do more work! Well, the issue arises when you introduce the aspect of “capacity thieves,” which we’ll talk about later. In short, you could potentially work twice as much but not get twice the amount of posts placed. You could send twice the amount of pitch emails but not get twice the amount of responses.

That’s where our historical data and forecasting from the last post comes in handy. With the help of data and forecasting, we can get a much clearer picture of how many people we need, how many hours we need to work or how many pitch emails we need to send in order to meet a changing demand.

The Level Strategy More Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity image earned media levelMore Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity

If your organization is anything like mine, you’ll likely reject this strategy straight away. While the Chase Strategy aims to control amount of capacity in order to balance it with demand, the Level Strategy tries to control the amount of demand to balance it with an existing and fixed capacity. While this is a much easier strategy to implement as a manager, it is not the most popular.

Here’s why: Most organizations don’t want to negatively affect the amount of demand for their services. More demand usually equals more revenue, which leads to more profit. So why on earth would any organization ever implement the Level Strategy? If the cost associated with changing capacity to match a higher demand is greater than the amount of increased revenue, an organization should implement the Level Strategy. In other words, if it costs more to hire the number of people needed to meet a new demand than the amount of revenue you’ll bring in as a result, then the Level Strategy is a better choice.

So how would you implement the Level Strategy? If you need to lower your demand you can charge more for your services, create a customer queue or develop an appointment system. These things will help to lower the demand for your services to balance out with your existing capacity. But if you need to raise your demand—well, try content marketing!

Capacity thieves More Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity image earned media capacity thiefMore Strategies To Manage Earned Media Capacity

As we discussed earlier, available resources can either increase or decrease capacity, depending on how they’re used. Sometimes those resources are easy to identify, but it’s always a good idea to analyze said resources in order to better understand your capacity.

First of all, in any organization this might include things such as people, facilities, information, materials, etc. If any necessary resource is missing, capacity will immediately drop to zero. The absence of necessary resources is the first “capacity thief.” This may show itself as employees calling in sick, loss of Internet access (yes, this still happens) or even PR pitches returning zero responses.

Second, variables in the resources or in the outputs of demand reduce your capacity. For instance, each client that requires special attention, a different reporting process or a higher quality of service will eat away at your capacity. Think about this in real life terms: If you have to create a custom report for a client every month rather than work from a template you are losing time which in turn reduces your capacity.

This may be the most difficult thief to overcome. Service organizations are always eager to go the extra mile to make their clients successful, but going the extra mile can sometime result in a negative overall effect. It’s up to you as a manager, with your leadership team, to determine where that line lives.

By keeping an eye on your capacity, knowing what plan you have to deploy when demand changes and keeping your capacity thieves in check, you can start to get closer to a more focused and controlled earned media strategy.

Image credits: Wikipedia, SodaHead.com

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