Our 5 biggest takeaways from the 2017 Media Transformation conference

Last week’s Media Transformation conference offered dozens and dozens of takeaways from Facebook monetization ideas to tips on how to build an innovation team.

We’ve captured the five biggest takeaways that media companies of all sizes can learn from:

1. Jobs to be done: Dr. Paul Wang, Associate Professor, Medill IMC Program, Northwestern University, led an interactive group discussion based off of Clay Christensen’s latest book, “Competing Against Luck.” One of the themes in the group discussion centered around not confusing process with progress. Improving efficiencies doesn’t necessarily equate to the jobs our customers want done.

 2. Fix user experience:  Jim Brady, CEO of Spirited Media and Jason Jedlinski, Vice President of Product Management for Gannett, talked for nearly 45 minutes on the need for the industry to improve UX, now. Improving user experience is about finding smaller, focused ways to test ideas that will advance the experience for a user. Maybe it’s a specific product or section, or with a specific type of reader. You can’t overhaul everything and replace lost ad revenue all at once, so find places to get started.

 3. Manage to sales activity: Our nearly three-hour sales workshop showcased a host of case studies and best practices that are helping media companies advance their revenue strategies. One of the themes to come out of the workshop was to manage to activity, not to revenue. What are the highest-value actions that you want your sales teams focused on? Put the tools in place to track these and then manage/coach to optimize them.

 4. Create innovation teams: While they may seem like something only the largest of the large are doing, they actually are possible for companies of all sizes. McClatchy and BH Media shared what their innovation teams look like. The key for both of them was finding employees who have design-thinking sensibilities and providing them with the flexibility to experiment and fail if necessary while finding projects that are core to the company’s mission. The teams were given a pretty long runway to show results as long as the projects seemed in line with the company’s longterm goals. Teams are small usually, less than five people made of project managers, analysts, designers and developers.

5. Monetize on Facebook: Making money on Facebook has become pretty important to media companies and the many ways to do this were presented. Everything from Facebook Live to mid-roll video ads to handshake posts were discussed as winning approaches.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular content we created during Media Transformation:

What the head of video at BuzzFeed News says you should do with your video strategy

This is how Scripps and Tribune are making money on Facebook 

Here’s how you can start fixing your bad UX now