Marketing, after all is said and done, is about making your
brand as relevant as possible, and now you need to do it in real
time. At your company that not only means busting down silos, but
also reinventing your job.
And to do both of those things, you've got to act like a startup,
where people are urged to range far and wide in an effort to
understand how consumers "will think, interact and operate in the
future," as the head of the British retail chain Tesco told the
Understanding the consumer, of course, is the essence of
marketing, and companies are willing to rejigger traditional
relationships and job structures to gain a better understanding of
what motivates their customers.
A story well told is what it's all about these days. And at our
place our people are playing very diverse roles to tell that
Brian Reilly, newly appointed corporate director of digital
strategy for Crain Communications, remembers when he worked at
Crain's Chicago Business in the late '90s: "Our early efforts [in
digital] didn't involve too much chasing of the customer. Rather,
our toolset at the time dictated that we take more of a 'if you
build it they will come' approach. ...
"Fast forward about 15 years… and everything we do today
at Crain is focused on chasing the customer -- and what to do when
we catch him or her! We have come to understand that our job is to
help our customers succeed, and providing the best news, analysis
and information in their industry is how we do that."
David M. Klein, the digital general manager of our Pensions
& Investments, has helped expedite the transition from a brand
focused on a single platform -- print -- to a brand that produces
content across multiple channels, including web, tablet, mobile,
data and events. David points out that P&I's success is
predicated on understanding how our customers consume content on
each of those platforms, and he's built a team of in-house
developers who can act quickly to create custom digital products as
new platforms and technologies emerge.
Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain's Detroit Business, said she
went back to school at age 53 to get a master's degree in
integrated-marketing communications. "Why?" she asked. "Because as
a journalist with P&L responsibility, I knew I needed to learn
more about technology and how it was changing marketing, journalism
and other forms of communication. It changed how I looked at our
publication and what we do every day. I have to keep up with
technology -- if I don't use it myself I won't know what it is and
how it works and how it impacts our business."
Another Crain's Detroit staffer is Nancy Hanus, digital-content
strategy manager. Nancy thinks of what we do as evolution rather
than reinvention. "If you stand still in this industry you become
irrelevant. Adapting to a changing media world is important no
matter what you do. It goes for me as a digital strategist as much
as it applied to me as a business editor. Don't stand still.
"It's important," Nancy continued, "that you not be afraid. That
you are bold. Create your own path, your own career -- don't depend
on an employer or a degree to tell you what you should be
David Denor, director of Crain's Chicago Business custom media,
believes continual market shifts "not only provide us the
opportunity to re-examine our business and its method of delivery,
but to create opportunities for shaping the roles within the
organization to meet those needs of change. As a growing and
evolving company, we should embrace and recognize the assets that
employees can bring to the table."
It's also very evident that the new work environment is a pretty
exciting place. Nathan Skid, multimedia editor of our Detroit
paper, says "every day offers something new. Last Tuesday, I broke
major Detroit restaurant news in the morning, shot photos of an
NHL press conference in the afternoon and
helped our video intern wrap up his first video shoot."
As you can see, our people have that entrepreneurial zeal to
reinvent themselves and their jobs so we can stay attuned to the
changing needs of our customers. The publication you're reading is
no exception to this evolution, and you'll see more on that front
early next year.
Fortune, in an article on Tesla Motors, said that "conviction
comes about when the possible future that you see aligns with a
deeply held view of how the world should be." As part of the
reinvention process people need to thrive on the disruptive forces
that are realigning the future with the shape of the world that