The customer driven future and our mission to serve the media industry

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks on the road spending time with many agency and publisher clients, discussing ways we can help make SRDS a better business partner in the media community.

Last week I attended the ABM (American Business Media) conference in San Francisco, where the three-day agenda was centered on a “Customer Driven Future.”

It was great to hear Jack Griffin (ex-Time Inc. and Meredith CEO) articulate what he believes to be the four “building blocks” that all media companies must build to ensure a successful “customer-focused” future:

  1. Data & Audience
  2. Content & Brand
  3. Convening Power & Community
  4. Social & Mobile

It was even better to see real examples of how some b2b “publishers” now serve their communities in far greater ways than providing breaking news and feature editorial.

In many industry markets the leading event producers, research providers, database experts, continuing education, and certification specialists are also the guys who employ journalists that cover the industry beat.

It’s a new world and the most successful media brands have shown the ability to understand the needs of the audience they serve—and then help by building robust paid and sponsored capabilities around them.

It came at a great time for me because a few days before the conference, I joined ten advertising agency clients who make up our SRDS Agency Advisory Board in NYC for a full day of discussions on how we might serve our audience better.

We started by asking our board to share their “pain” and to learn “what’s keeping them up at night.” While there were lots of thoughtful comments and debate on numerous topics, there was near unanimity in one area: the difficulty in keeping their teams properly trained on the basics and best practices of media planning and buying.

I guess this sentiment shouldn’t be too surprising. Digital is changing media every day and clients are looking for agencies to be multi-media planning experts.

Learning the ropes on how to properly plan and buy just one type of media must take time (and who really has time anymore). When you layer in the number of media channels a planner is expected to know and  the nuances of the media research providers, metrics, and brands that make-up each market, well: PAIN.

By trying to organize the media marketplace and marrying it with standardized buying metrics, I’m glad to know that SRDS currently helps soothe some of my customers' pain today. But as we begin to assemble and stack our building blocks, I’m certain there is so much more we can do.

What do you think? Is better training for media buyers and planners an issue our industry needs to address?

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