A new IAB and Bain study illustrates the shape of media companies to come.
If, that is, we are to follow the desires and needs of advertisers and marketers (as if we have any choice).
Although this study is directed at (so-called) "online publishers," I would argue that this is the shape for all media-driven marketing to come.
Here are the six steps detailed in the study:
1. Create segmented offerings to meet the separate needs of advertisers who are focused on building brands and those who are looking for direct response
2. Make brand-focused marketers a priority by building a sales force of category experts who respond directly to those marketers’ specific needs
3. Develop a full range of solutions with more engaging options and formats, including social networks, video and other rich media
4. Offer deeper service and support customized to vertical industries, to help advertisers plan, create and measure the brand impact of online ads
5. Optimize the ways that ad inventories are sold, with a range of approaches from full-service to self-service to partnership with ad networks and resellers
6. Enhance organizational effectiveness by setting the right priorities, clarifying internal roles and accountability and investing in sales staff skills and incentives
The report continues:
“Ultimately, marketers are looking for media companies to offer a true triple-play service model from direct response to awareness to high impact brand engagement,” said [John Frelinghuysen, a partner in Bain & Company's media practice and lead author of the study]. “This model is the key to staving off continued price erosion of online inventory.”
What this amounts to is that media companies must orient around the needs of its clients and the interests of its audiences, not simply around its channel(s) of distribution.
This is a structural change of considerable proportions.
If you're still asking "what should we put on our website?" you're asking the wrong question.
Instead try asking "how should we be structured to leverage the value of our consumer relationships and competitive advantages for the benefit of our current and future clients?"