After watching their ad revenue decline year after year, NTM Media in Sweden decided to stop this downward trend and start fighting back.
About a year ago, they decided to start reimagining their business.
The big thing for them was making sure they had every department filled with the right people. Head of Operations and People Annie Lidjesjo said they started to see the decline turn around.
The right people on the boat
“One big thing that is that we have the right people on the boat right now,” Annie said. “We have the right competence and the right team that all wants to change this.”
The pandemic, as we know, changed the share of the media pie. For Sweden, before the pandemic, they saw 54% of the ad revenue in the Internet business. And in two years, that has moved to 71%. Impressive.
NTM has built a long-term plan for growth in the digital ad business.
Selling owned media
“We had to have a big digital growth in our own channels. We needed to focus from selling Google, Facebook, TikTok or Instagram to selling our own digital display areas,” Annie said.
On the digital side, NTM focuses on increasing the number of buying customers. That’s not with a focus on the print side yet, even still they are seeing 10% growth in print.
Their goal is to have a completely digital business by 2026, which also includes the subscription business, Annie said.
NTM is committed to this plan even though they had seen the ad revenue curve going down and they still have so much money in print.
Focus, culture, and competence
“You need to change the focus, the culture, and the competence of the people that want to do the change because you need to do so much every year so everything is always in change mode,” she said.
And to carry this all out, what about those sales team skill sets? NTM knows how important it is that the members of the entire team understand the business as a whole and not work in silos: “They can say, if we do this on the ad side, then we need to do this on the subscription side and on the technical side and with the journalists.”
They also benefited from hiring a lot of new people on the tech side: “They’re focusing on getting control of all the ad inventory, all the traffic, and they are always trying to see new things that they can sell together,” Annie explained.
What are their learnings?
“I think we had been focusing a lot on how to fix the print business instead of focusing on the digital business. We need to change this focus and have people going that way.”
It’s not what got us here that takes us forward
Selling better ads to the customers is the imperative for NTM. They subscribe to this idea: “It’s not what got us here that takes us forward. We need to focus on new things. We need to stop doing some of the old things. We need to have 100% customer experience focus. We need to understand and know what the customers need. We need to have speed in everything we do.”
NTM also encourages team members not to stop and think too much. They encourage the need to keep going, moving, and doing.
To grow, digital must be greater than the fear of losing print
It is viewed that all 150 people who work at NTM media understand and work in the ad business area no matter what their title. NTM has also put a lot of money in education for both sales reps and sales managers.
“To succeed, employees have to be engaged and there’s a need to develop them. Above all, the mantra that drives NTM Media is: ‘The will to grow digital must be greater than the fear of losing print.’”
I wonder if that is your view, too? Do let me know? firstname.lastname@example.org
Acknowledgement: Thanks to INMA’s Paula Felps, Michelle Jones, Sarah Schmidt, and the whole journalistic team for their excellent reporting on the Ad Sales aaster class, part of which has been the referred to in this newsletter.
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