Agile strategy for publishers

The media industry today is changing constantly, so much so it sometimes seems like taking the time to develop a good strategy seems almost pointless. What works today may be useless in six months. But there is an approach publishers can make to developing and managing a strategy. One that can be incredibly effective.
The Agile Methodology | a brief history
The concept of agile came out of the digital world when the internet enabled a shift from what was called the “waterfall methodology” where software was developed in a lengthy process and then delivered when it was ready. Any changes took a long time, lots of planning and ran in lengthy cycles. It was expensive and incredibly challenging.  As the internet grew and WiFi networks became easier and more and more services were being delivered in a web browser, the concept of the agile methodology was developed. It meant working in “sprints” of 2-3 weeks and constantly pushing out new features, bug fixes and so on.
Soon, the world of project management adopted agile methodologies to speed up project delivery while maintaining the quality of expected service. Agile methods have also entered the realm of strategic planning and activation. For publishers, agile strategy can be an excellent way of maintaining a long-term focus while adapting to rapidly changing market shifts.
Agile Strategy for Publishers
While it may seem almost impossible to keep up with the rapidly and ever changing media industry of today, especially in light of the speed at which the FAANG tech giants implement and introduce changes, agile strategy may be a perfect way for publishers to keep apace and maybe alter the game in their favour.
Implementing an agile strategy does take some courage, however. The advantages are that it is not expensive to implement and fosters a culture of innovation and experimenting with reduced risk. Few media organizations are flush with cash to afford mistakes. Yet publishers are always experimenting today, even if they don’t realize it. Developing membership programs, finding ecosystem partners, adding value to advertising clients, different approaches to programmatic, testing podcasting and so on.
The core elements of agile strategy are vision and improvisation. The vision is the North Star that is always followed while the improvisation aspect helps to adapt as implementation rolls along. Strategy is a long-term play and has often been a long and enduring process. While there is a place for this, publishers need an agile strategy that helps them constantly evolve.
Implementing an Agile Strategy
The process of implementing an agile strategy approach for publishers doesn’t have to be costly, hard or lengthy. We know that publishers don’t have wads of cash, nor do they have loads of time. We’ve developed a framework for implementing agile strategy and there are others. Ours is aimed specifically at publishers and the media industry. Any consultant worth their word will move fast and not burden the organisation with a drawn out process that produces a massive document that no one adheres to. We’ll talk about that in another post.
The key take-away here is that as a publisher, you need to move fast today. But doing that with haphazard experiment s and without a process, will cost you more in the long-run.
More Insights: Found this article helpful? Check out this one where we look at why and how publishers can leave programmatic advertising systems.
Author: Giles Crouch. He is Ekspansiv’s chief strategy officer and managing partner. Giles brings together digital anthropology, behavioural economics and marketing as a polymath. Giles is also a 2019 judge for the COPA awards in Canada and a judge with the CMA Awards for marketing and co-founder of the Ice Awards for creative in advertising.

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