How TI Media is Keeping Pace with Digital Transformation
Technology fuels multi-channel selling and drives profit for today’s media companies
“For me, the most refreshing thing is the way [Lineup] listens. You guys are always asking what are we looking at next? What are our frustrations? What are we trying to achieve? You’re always keeping us in the loop with updates. For me, that’s refreshing, because I’m seeing new technologies that are going to be very, very beneficial to us. We are a business that works extremely agile. We can work anywhere, in any location. So, knowing that Lineup is on the front foot with those technologies is very refreshing for us.”
-Mark McCartney, Commercial Operations Director for TI Media
The world of advertising is changing, altered thoroughly by the growth of global online platforms and the arrival of new media channels. Too often, media companies are unprepared to embrace these changes, due to disparate legacy systems that can’t keep track with digital transformation. Most legacy solutions on the market specialize only in one channel or aspect of the advertising process, and that’s not how advertisers buy anymore. Today’s advertisers seek integrated, multi-channel experiences that include a rich mix of print, digital, broadcast, outdoor, and event advertising. They expect to be able to purchase audiences, not just space. To offer these experiences, today’s media companies need to equip their sales teams with advertising tools designed to drive multi-channel sales – something most legacy systems cannot deliver.
Organizations that can pivot to new ways of selling are reaping the benefits. TI Media (formerly Time Inc. UK), one of the largest branded media companies in the world, knows this to be true. With an extensive portfolio of 40-plus iconic brands that span across multiple platforms – including print, digital, and events – TI Media has witnessed substantial change in recent years. Mark McCartney, the company’s Commercial Operations Director, expects that “change will continue to evolve as we go forward,” but also says that TI Media has invested in technology that will keep them at the forefront of the industry as it evolves.
Before Innovation: The Challenges
Just four years ago, TI Media was running what McCartney describes as a “very siloed business”. Individual sales teams were responsible for specific titles, and the ad booking systems that sales teams were using varied by title. As TI Media acquired new publications and media brands, it also brought new ad sales teams and their software solutions into the fold. Ultimately, this cycle of acquisition resulted in TI Media running four different ad booking systems simultaneously across its brands. In turn, the redundancy meant that there were many advertiser’s accounts appeared more than once across the multiple systems. This overlap presented significant challenges for TI Media in managing overall sales and selling multi-channel experiences.
Without a complete view of a single customer, it was difficult for the TI Media team to understand who was buying what, or to determine how much money each client was spending. The company wanted to get away from selling individual brands and move towards pitching verticals to advertisers; challenging because teams had no easy way to see opportunities in one place. When a sales rep needed immediate information on a customer, that information wasn’t available. Instead, TI Media had to map data together manually from multiple systems to compile a simple sales report. Invoicing was also a challenge, as running more than one system meant that TI Media would regularly send out multiple invoices to a single client. For the clients that were buying ads vertically rather than for a single publication, this billing process was confusing and made it more challenging to understand ad spend and ROI.
Structurally, TI Media also struggled with overlaps of salespeople. Rather than consolidating the sales team as it acquired new media brands, IT Media had kept the individual sales teams intact. In numerous cases, the confusion of the company’s system meant that salespeople from different parts of the business were working with the same clients. For customers, this overlap meant disorder and wasted time. For TI Media, it was a clear sign that things needed to evolve. “From a customer’s experience, it wasn’t as professional as what we would want it to have been,” McCartney says.