Jeff Bezos is a legendary innovator whose company, Amazon, is driving business transformation across industries. Clearly he’s not shy about challenging the status quo. In 2013 he invested a portion of his personal fortune in The Washington Post, a publisher of repute since 1877.
Though many feared he would interfere with the content, he hasn’t out of respect for the trained and talented Post editors and writers, as he explained recently, “This is a highly professionalized activity… We have people who have decades of experience doing it.”
One of the great innovators of our era respects experience and the quality content that experience produces. Why don’t marketers, who are professionals in their own right, extend the same respect to publishers? They used to. Back in the day, marketers and publishers worked together, and business for both was good.
The same can’t be said today. Now, marketers have become convinced that they must ignore their own history, experience, and skills, and, instead, pursue automation, scramble for scale, and buy inventory blindly on random sites without regard for context or quality.
That strategy is not working out very well, according to Bob Liodice, president and chief executive officer of the Association of National Advertisers. On October 19th he opened the association’s Masters of Marketing Conference by observing that marketers have lost control of their industry, which he characterized as “unproductive, unsustainable, and undesirable.”
Neither marketers nor publishers can turn back the hands of time. But both can adapt intelligently. In the Post’s case, the editors have learned, with Bezos’s help, to adjust their distribution strategy to avoid losing ownership and control of their stories to aggregators. Marketers, too, can adapt by putting their experience to work by exercising control, partnering with publishers, and thoughtfully using the best tools that digital has to offer.
And, for those among you with any doubt about what is and isn't a publisher, read my latest report: https://www.forrester.com/report/Broadcasters+And+Networks+Are+Publishers+In+2017+Along+With+Traditional+Creators+Of+Content/-/E-RES136114