Strategic partnerships are key to growing advertising revenue in 2016

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the emerging revenue opportunities for media companies. While there’s plenty of money being invested in online programmatic buying and emerging platforms like mobile and social, capturing that opportunity can be burdensome for these organisations.

Building out technology platforms requires considerable time and investment – two things many organisations simply can’t afford at this juncture. After all, these are organisations that are trying to turn a profit without making sacrifices to their newsrooms and core consumer products.

It is difficult to invest in things that aren’t a core competency and, further, challenging to have the patience and financial stability to make them work.

That makes this the most important time for news media organisations to consider the power of partnerships. With mobile, programmatic selling, and audience targeting emerging as major revenue opportunities, a strategic partnership may be the easiest way to capitalise on these sophisticated capabilities.

But venturing into the world of partnerships is a tricky proposition in itself. Many large media organisations already work with supply side platforms (SSPs) and data management platforms (DMPs) to help understand their online audiences and package them to larger sellers.

But those technologies don’t help them sell to smaller customers or grow their customer base, which will continue to make up the largest segment of advertisers for these companies.

News media companies could ostensibly try to cobble together technology stacks of their own, choosing from a number of digital point solutions and testing each partner to achieve maximum return and performance.

But that requires a deep knowledge of the technology as well as dedicated staff to vet each partner and monitor the results. Again, it’s a route that requires investment of both time and money before returning a yield. Not necessarily something many can accomplish.

However, publishers and media outlets don’t necessarily have to assemble their own stacks.

The best option for many – especially those concerned with growing revenue while cutting costs – is to enlist a partner who can supply a full, pre-assembled tech stack, along with the expertise for using these technologies and selling them.

The idea here is that, rather than add staff to manage mobile, programmatic, and other emerging channels, the media outlet partners with a company already dedicated to managing those components.

Companies have prospered for centuries because they are very good at what they do – covering and reporting the stories that matter most to their consumer audience and communities. And then monetising that audience.

In 2016, it should be every news media outlet’s duty to preserve that strength while growing revenue. Rather than try to learn about every new marketing trend, they can choose to partner with a company that takes on that full responsibility.

I’ve written before about how organisations need to enable their best sales employees with adequate support systems and the opportunity to work within verticals instead of geographical regions to produce the best results.

Within these kinds of partnership, news outlets can retain their sales staff and their relationships with advertisers large and small. The difference is that they will be able to add new ad products and packages quickly, taking advantage of emerging trends in the moment, rather than racing to catch up.

This opens up a world of opportunities: New advertisers can be added, but existing relationships can be grown as new products and capabilities are added. All of this can be achieved with a fair amount of training, but no additional staff or heavy investment in technology.

It simply comes down to the media companies’ willingness to tap into the power of partnerships through tech and managed services.

I’ve been on both sides of this argument, so just offering a little perspective.

About Adam Burnham

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