News media companies seem to misunderstand today’s power structure, according to Author Christopher Bones, who spoke at the INMA Media Subscriptions Summit in Stockholm about his book, Optimizing Digital Strategy: How to Make Informed, Tactical Decisions that Deliver Growth. The book looks at how publishers need to think strategically about their customers.

Bones, chairman of Good Growth, said, “The biggest challenge, I think, for any organisation ... is that they rapidly get a producer mentality. They’re really keen to push stuff out.”

But the essence of success in digital is to understand that what digital technology has done is move the power base from the producer to the consumer. “You have to understand something as a customer, rather than get them to understand you,” Bones said. “It’s centered on what does it take to do that?”

This affects how the organisation thinks, works, and what skill sets or capabilities it needs. “It was very much aimed at leaders who, at that stage, probably were not digital natives ... and possibly, as a result, abdicated rather than delegated responsibility for digital.”

Bones referenced the many stories of failures of legacy businesses to make their digital channels operate effectively.