Three Must-Have Objectives for Local Media in 2020

We’ve come a long way. In 2020, local media companies increasingly understand the rules of the game—invest in editorial and revenue growth, and automate everything else possible in the back end to reduce costs.

Companies that forget one of the three legs of a stool get stuck in a binary trap—cut or grow. In fact, cutting costs through automation and investing in editorial and revenue growth are not mutually exclusive. They are interdependent goals.

It’s true that one way to grow the bottom line is to cut expenses. But cutting expenses also supports the other two goals: “I want to use the human resources we have to produce the highest quality product for our audience and advertisers, without wasting human capital on rote tasks.”

A key area to think about automating is the placement of ads.

Let’s say the process today to get an ad into the paper take 7 or 8 steps with 6 people interacting with the ad:

  1.  A salesperson sells the space
  2. Manager approves pricing
  3. The salesperson fills out a form to request artwork and emails it to the art department
  4.  The art department (or outsourced but expensive) designs ad & emails it to the salesperson
  5.  The salesperson emails to the customer – often with a repeat of the above cycle until the ad creative is approved
  6.  The salesperson fills out an order form
  7.  Production places the ad on the page
  8. The salesperson sends a copy to the customer

This process is multiplied with every multi-media buy requiring separate art, digital systems, and digital reporting/tracking. Today all these steps in ad placement can be reduced to minutes, with only three people touching the ad. None of it even needs to happen in the office, but out on the road, where and when a salesperson is selling.

Automated ad building, scheduling, approvals, payment processing, and post-campaign reporting save hours and hours, resulting in more time for key projects and more time for sellers to actually sell instead of paperwork or hunting down customers for approvals. The bottom line grows when the third leg of the stool is a clear objective—automate to save money and invest more time in the core mission—sales and editorial, instead of busywork.