Inside this Insight Report | Building a powerful media property | Product development for digital networked media
Customer need states | What are the customers' needs? | Case study | Best practice tips
Building a powerful media property
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On the web consumers can have their information and entertainment needs met without needing traditional media brands. The business models of publishers and broadcasters acting as market places that bring together audiences and advertisers are challenged. The formula for success online means developing services so strong and compelling they draw in audiences through 'must-have' propositions. This might mean radically rethinking the approach and the content, but for brands that get it right, the pickings are rich. Last year the team here at Digital ran website product development workshops for firms from over 20 countries and these notes share with you some of the framework we've been using since 2000. We love great web content and want to see our friends and partners producing even more.

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Danny Meadows-Klue
Danny Meadows-Klue
Founder and Chief Executive
Digital Strategy Consulting

Building a powerful media property
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Product development for digital networked media

These notes share with you our approach in product development, and the way that thinking about customer needs can help websites think more broadly about their content, community and toolkits. They reflect key elements media brands would want to consider in developing a consumer facing online service, and also underscore the challenges in getting the formula for product development right. In the web environment, consumers can have many needs met without relying upon classic media brands, so as publishers and broadcasters complete their migration to multi-channel providers, they need to broaden their proposition and reposition their role.

If the business model relies on acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers - bringing together focused audiences that become value in the advertising proposition - then the formula for success online means developing services that are so strong and compelling they draw in audiences time and time again through a 'must-have' proposition.

Customer need states: What are they looking for?
Effective product development strategies begin by thinking about the customer's needs, breaking them down into a series of isolated elements that can each be explored and understood. Historically, dotcom pureplay businesses have proved more adept at this than classic media brands where the editorial or programming heritage often restricts the team's aspirations.

What are the customers' needs?
For any scenario like this, the customer's needs are typically broad and change over time. However, several clear strands normally emerge in our product development workshops. in the report we give some examples.

  • Travel information so I know how to get there and get around
  • Entertainment information so I know what I can do
  • Weather information so I know what to expect
  • Transactional services to let me purchase things I need
  • Language services to help me learn or remember key phrases
  • Something to inspire me and excite my interest

In terms of information provision, this could be structured as several information types:

  • Information for direct decision making
  • Information for validation; typically knowing what other people thought of something
  • Information that combines sources together to build value (mash-ups)
  • Information that enables a connection between people
  • Information that entertains and engages (editorial content)

Remember that the information does not have to be generated in total or even in part by the website publisher. The firm could simply act as an enabler, architecting the right conversations between different customers. The next step is to consider how these ideas can be translated into specific content and services a site or platform could provide to meet those needs.

 Best practice: hints and tips on Digital Strategy www.DigitalStrategyConsulting.com/articles

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Danny Meadows-Klue
"Creating content, toolkits and communities people want to spend time with demands deep understanding of how consumers think and behave in the digital networked society. Get the insights right and incredible opportunities open up; fail to understand and the entire web project will be pointless - it's that brutal."
Danny Meadows-Klue
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