News organizations can plot a path to success by adopting a dual transformation approach that rebuilds core, legacy businesses while launching and operating disruptive new ones that create new growth in a changing marketplace.
At “Transformative Business Models,” the second workshop on the American Press Institute’s Transformation Tour, publishing executive and scholar Clark Gilbert showed more than 60 newspaper executives how dual transformation could reposition the legacy business for market shifts and new technologies while developing new, disruptive businesses for future growth.
The key, according to Gilbert, CEO of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media, is an organizational structure that recognizes both transformations: one, a repositioning of the core business in the altered marketplace; the other, a separate disruptive business to develop innovations and new sources of revenue. The two Deseret companies are experimenting with a “capabilities exchange” that uses assets and maximizes resources from both organizations, said Gilbert.
For dual transformation to work, Gilbert said each organization must operate as if the future of the company depends on it alone. Managers from Deseret Digital Media showed how the strategy works in their organizational structure.
Gordon Borrell, founder and CEO of Borrell Associates Inc., presented a Business Model Dashboard that establishes business metrics and sets benchmarks for adaptation and growth. The metrics were adapted for the workshop from financials compiled by Borrell Associates, the news industry’s leading research agency on local interactive and online advertising in 513 digital marketing regions.
Borrell explained industry-wide data that sets the metrics and establishes lagging, tracking and leading benchmarks. Based on the data, Borrell emphasized an idea compatible with Gilbert’s “two transformations” approach: the need for separate sales forces for legacy and digital businesses.
A differentiated understanding is required for digital sales, Borrell said, one that recognizes the differences from print or bundled sales.
"Transformative Business Models” drew executives and managers from newspaper companies large and small across the United States and Puerto Rico to Salt Lake City on Oct. 25 and 26. The Transformation Tour is presenting seven topics critical to the future of the industry, with The Poynter Institute, which is also developing online training modules that will be available in 2013.
The “Transformative Business Models” workshop repeats January 24-25, 2013, at NAA headquarters in Arlington, Va. Learn more about this workshop and the other stops on the Transformation Tour.