What Publishers Can Learn From Harvard Business School, Gatorade, and Forbes

The Harvard Business Review recently posted an article titled A Sad Lesson in Collaborative Innovation written by Ron Adner, a Dartmouth business school professor and the author of The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation.

 

How does this apply for publishers in the display advertising world?  

It's crucial for publishers to offer unique ad products because an audience is no longer enough to command premium pricing.  Publishers need to move towards selling unique brand experiences that provide value for marketers.  Top sites are already doing this, many of them using Flite's technology to create custom solutions quickly and at scale, allowing them to charge higher CPMs while making the brand advertiser happy.

But as you can see on the slide below (presented by a Forbes executive at Flite Summit), there are multiple stakeholders involved.  How does a publisher know the best way to explore new solutions?  How do you start with tackling and incorporating innovation into your business process?

 

As Adner says, "The innovator's quest has been to find the win-win proposition: a great new product that can create differentiated value for consumers while supporting differentiated profits for the producer.  But the focus on win-win can blind us to the needs of critical partners. When success depends on others — suppliers, complementors, distributors, retailers — satisfying end consumers is not enough. The innovator's job is now to create wins across the board. Win-lose-win is a recipe for failure..."  

Here are 3 tips from the article that apply to publishers and to anyone trying to change the way things are done in an organization or industry:

1. "Crafting a proposition that appeals to each of your key partners.

Focus on your adoption chain as actively as you focus on your end customers.

2. Ensuring your collaborators are ready before you launch your product.

Beyond overcoming your own innovation challenge, you must manage your co-innovation risk.

3. Revisiting the way in which you bring partners on board.

The idea here is that publishers may realize that innovation is important, but their buy-in alone is not enough.  Publishers and tech providers like Flite must be committed to working with brands and other key stakeholders to ensure that the systems are in place to make agile marketing successful -- and we are.

Brands like Gatorade have already begun realizing the potential for agile marketing and have made social a core part of their efforts.  With their commitment to agility, they built a "Mission Control Center" for monitoring social media conversations and real-time brand metrics in their headquarters.  

The payoff?  The company says it’s been able to "increase engagement with its product education by 250% and reduce its exit rate from 25% to 9%."  Meanwhile, publishers like Forbes have integrated the concept of real-time marketing into their newsrooms and have inspired their brand partners to embrace innovation for display as well.  

The world of display is quickly heading in the direction of agile -- what are you doing to incorporate real-time into your marketing?