Media companies have begun to witness an increasingly thin functional borders from within. Lets look at the typical functions of a media company to understand their changing roles.
The Content or the Editorial: Everyone knows content is King. But the queen is content communication. A content writer’s role is now very akin to the marketing person as the story, language & recency should appeal to the audience and even the search engines in case of online companies. Also being closer to the market as they are through their work, the editorial team has a great potential to understand the customer behaviour. Now a days the readers are pretty aware and interactive and within minutes of publishing, the journalist can get feedbacks. The feedback is almost instant in online media companies unlike in their print cousins. The new tools of web 2.0 allow them to instantly distribute the content as well thus making it available for the whole world to see, read and participate.
The Marketing Department: The marketing department in an online media company can be no longer happy doing some flashy hoardings or banner ads. In a market which is getting fragmented with niche content magazines and newspapers, the pressure on marketing to retain the readership is huge. In an online environement, since SEO (and to some extent SEM) usually lays down the marketing infrastructure, marketing has to think beyond all these to make a credible difference. Analytics (and Google's is only a basic one), offers an opportunity to understand the users and to be able to make ongoing changes to the site design, content and the language towards greater traffic and conversions.
The Tech Department: Though referred to as an enabler, the tech guy can do a better justice to his job if he can empathise with the end user and help the marketing and the editorial to create an enriched media. This was always perceived as a traditional job of a marketing person. Competence-wise, tecnology team is always blessed with much better analytical skills than any other functional team. With newer ways of consuming content through mobile, feeds, social media, blogs, WAP sites etc. becoming popular, the technology team is not just supposed to be on top of the technology but also evaluate the potential of the content to reach across different masses.
The Designer: The web designer is not a person who just makes different layouts and toggles between adobe photoshop and Google Images. He has to now understand the navigation attitudes of users and make designs that are relevant for the times and in-tune with the industry. That not only makes him a partial marketer but also a researcher in a way.
The Sales Department: Gone are the days of running wild in the market making calls. To survive and prosper sales team needs to understand the market and eventually create a bridge between marketing and content to roll out products that he can sell without making a fuss. This again is a deviation as earlier the product was a “given”. Just like the editorial team, the sales is very close to the customer, making them the most potential in the organisation to influence new media properties.
The clichéd concept of “team work” will however never go away. Its just that all the stakeholders will have to understand their changing roles and then collaborate to achieve the end objectives.