From third party cookies to identity, visitor relationship management (VRM), GDPR, CCPA, CPRA, IDFA, consent, privacy, TCF 2.0 and buyers.json, the publishing business has gotten even more complex. Leadership teams in most publishing companies recognize the issues that sometimes-antiquated or manual processes pose and have long-discussed freeing up their teams for higher value activities. But freeing up their teams and themselves is no longer a nice-to-have. There are huge initiatives underway that can have dramatic impact on revenue for many publishers making the streamlining of processes a must-do.
A 2020 study fielded by CoLab Media Consulting and Beeler.Tech on behalf of their partner, FatTail, makes the case for maturing processes and offers some insight into how to get there.
This industry survey gathered feedback from over 130 team members from the publisher advertising teams of more than 95 companies. Respondents’ advertising revenue came from a cross-section of digital, direct and programmatic, linear, VOD, audio and more, with a representative sample of annual advertising revenue levels.
Regardless of industry, ad type or revenue, publishers reported similar pain points with an exorbitant amount of time being spent on creative management, invoicing and billing, campaign reporting, client communication and providing client status updates.
And siloed teams, lack of resources, and excessive email only makes these processes more time-consuming, not less.
Maturing Your Processes
Based on the survey feedback, it would behoove publishers to move to more mature and automated processes and automations. Here are four ways to mature your processes.
- Automate your workflow. Or automate part of the tasks. Automation can mean that tasks are turned over to machines with only the most limited oversight or it may include some level of monitoring or alerting. Consider the risk of the full automation vs. the time it takes for the checks or alerts and make decisions accordingly.
- Integrate your systems. You can have the most robust systems, but if the integration between them is weak or non-existent you might not be reaping all the benefits. When thinking about integration, think of an hourglass with the waist acting as the integration. Without a robust integration, only so much data can pass in some much time from one system to the other.
- Allow for self-service. Where possible, make data available without requiring a user request. When you remove the time to make the request, you are also eliminating the response and all the emails that deliver these messages. As an example, if you know that someone is going to request X-type of report 75% of the time, automate the report and have it saved where the user can find it when they want it.
- Outsource repeatable functions. Outsourcing gives your team more bandwidth, provides back-up support, and helps support work volume spikes. With a good outsource partner, you can have a two-way relationship in which they provide proactive feedback and recommendations based on experience. This is especially helpful for smaller teams. Outsourcing can do more than screenshots and basic trafficking these days, so think creatively when you consider what might be outsourceable.
Pro Tips for Optimization
- Evaluate your current processes. Your biggest pain points offer the biggest opportunity for change. Do a quick survey of your team to find out what ails them or bring in a process consultant to do a full discovery and recommendation.
- Talk to your peers. Find out how your peers handle particular processes. What systems do they use? How often do they use them?
- Talk to your current partners and outline your challenges. Do they have solutions in place to help you in any of these areas today? If not, push them to help solve your needs.
- Familiarize yourself with the types of solutions in the market. You may find there are solution types that you never knew existed. OMSs with varying levels of workflow. Security solutions with different focuses. Brand safety solutions that allow you to target based on brand safety metrics. Analytics and data visualization solutions that can help with anything from mapping to third-party data to proactively highlighting revenue opportunities. Self-serve buying platforms to automate the sales and sometimes the creative process. The list goes on and on.
- Pick good partners and then hold them to high standards. The seller side of the sales equation needs to be more proactive and less reactive. Partners should also be responsive, understand the business and change with the market.
- Consider the cost it takes to onboard a new solution. Be sure to think about cost in terms of time, budget, and opportunity. Don’t let that stop you from making a move but go into your decision-making eyes wide open. It will help you plan implementation resources (internal or external), manage timelines, budget, and team stress.
- Implement a “strive for excellence” culture that is always optimizing processes and systems. As the industry changes, processes and tools must be responsive to allow you to maximize your organization’s opportunities.
Maturing your processes to focus strategically and get away from the day-to-day is undoubtedly an investment of patience, time, and money, but in the end, it will be good for the employee, good for the team and good for the company.
Part Two Consulting and Beeler.Tech
Melissa Chapman is the Founder of Part Two Consulting, where she is focused on helping organizations optimize around their people and processes. Before making the move to consulting, Melissa spent 26 years on the publisher side of the industry. Beeler.Tech was founded by Rob Beeler and focuses on connecting people, creating conversations, and helping bring efficiency to digital media and ad tech. If you would like to learn more about our research project with FatTail and CoLab Media Consulting please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.