The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur:
Recommendations for Use in a Professional or Corporate Setting

As with any strategy book, The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur can be utilized to accomplish a range of organizational goals and objectives.   This includes guiding discussions and decision-making at offsite strategy retreats; encouraging the formation of teams and work groups charged with development of new products, services or enterprises; nurturing leadership growth within the ranks of your organization, and orienting new employees to your business imperatives and objectives. Here are some suggestions for using the book in a variety of professional settings.

The book is divided into three parts. Chapters One through Four in the first section, “Understanding the Basics of Digital Entrepreneurship,” explores how the Internet has changed the business models for media enterprises and identifies the strategic challenges and opportunities confronting all media entrepreneurs today. The second part, “Creating Sustainable Strategies and Business Models,” develops a new customer-focused strategy roadmap for creating profitable and sustainable digital media business models. It poses five customer-focused strategic questions, and establishes a step-by-step process for answering each question.  The concluding section, “Leadership in a Time of Change,” focuses on the leadership challenges and opportunities facing media entrepreneurs today and in the near future.

Guiding discussion and decisions at off-site strategy retreats:

To encourage an informed and analytic discussion of the challenges and opportunities confronting your organization, we would recommend that – at a minimum – attendees read Chapters One through Five, and Chapter Ten in advance of the strategy retreat. Here’s a summary of those chapters:

Chapter One (“Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Innovation and Entrepreneurship”) explores how innovations (from the printing press to the internet) have changed the dominant business models for media organizations.  It also identifies the characteristics of successful innovative media entrepreneurs.

Chapter Two (“The Story Behind the Numbers”) explores how the strategic choices made by an enterprise flow through a company’s annual financial statements, affecting both the bottom line and the ability to make investments in promising endeavors. 

Chapter Three (“What’s a Company Worth?”) examines the various types of various media investors (from hedge fund managers to venture capitalists) and provides some basic ways for non-financial types to value a media enterprise and calculate a return on investment.

Chapter Four (“The Changed Competitive Landscape”) lays out the typical life cycle of a media enterprise (from foundation to maturity and decline), and explores the challenges that confront leaders of those enterprises at each stage of development. 

Chapter Five (“A Strategy for Dealing with the New Business Imperatives”) discusses the broad concepts behind development of sustainable business models, and lays out the five primary components of successful digital media strategies.

Chapter Ten (“Investing in Key Assets and Capabilities”) provides a strategic framework for identifying key assets and capabilities in your enterprise and then prioritizing investment in new digital products and services.   The strategic framework introduced in this chapter will help you lead a productive discussion about aligning the wants and needs of your audience with the resources available to your company.  

Developing and launching new products and services, or a new enterprise:  

Once the decision has been made to invest in a new endeavor, Chapters Six through Eleven provide a blueprint for researching the target consumer of that product or service, designing and testing, and then successfully bringing the innovative new product to market.  These chapters, which provide a step-by-step process for evaluating long-term viability of products, should be especially useful in guiding the decision-making of teams of employees charged with suggesting innovative solutions.  Here’s a summary of those chapters:

Chapter Five (“A Strategy for Dealing with the New Business Imperatives”) discusses the broad concepts behind development of sustainable business models, and lays out the five primary components of successful digital media strategies.  

Chapter Six (“Developing a Unique Value Proposition”) and Chapter Seven (“Understanding Customer Relationships”) provides various tools for developing a unique value proposition for a product or enterprise, pricing products and services to capture added value and engender loyalty among new and existing customers, and calculating the profitability of various customer segments.  

Chapter Eight (“Reaching New and Current Customers”) and Chapter Nine (“Competing in a Networked World”) explore various ways to communicate and connect with current and potential customers.   Chapter Eight provides tools for mapping the customer journey and identifying various channels for reaching customers.  Chapter Nine considers the pros and cons of competing versus partnering with rivals. 

Chapter Ten (“Investing in Key Assets and Capabilities”) provides a framework for identifying key assets in a media or tech enterprise and then investing wisely in new digital products and services so that the primary needs and wants of target customers are prioritized.

Chapter Eleven (“Entrepreneurial Leadership and Culture”) explores the importance of organizational culture and the leadership characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial enterprises.

Developing and nurturing talent within an organization: 

Leaders, regardless of their rank, understand the context in which their organization exists and know how to both formulate and implement a strategy that addresses weaknesses while taking advantage of opportunities.  We believe marketing and journalism practitioners benefit from learning about the finances of media enterprises, just as those specializing in accounting and finance need to understand how putting the customer first contributes to bottom line performance.  Here are some specific courses that can be used either to encourage leadership development of current employees or to orient new employees. 

Developing the financial acumen of non-financial managers (such as those in marketing or content development):
We recommend Chapters Two (“The Story Behind the Numbers”), Three (“What’s a Company Worth?”) and Twelve (“What the Future Holds.”)

Understanding digital media business strategies: 
We recommend Chapters Four (“The Changed Competitive Landscape”), Five (“A Strategy for Dealing with the New Business Imperatives”), Six (Developing a Unique Value Proposition”) and Ten (“Investing in Key Assets and Capabilities.”)

Understanding product design and development and competitive advantage:
We recommend Chapters Six (“Developing a Unique Value Proposition), Seven (“Understanding Customer Relationships”) and Eight (“Reaching New and Current Customers.”)

Focusing on development of entrepreneurial leadership skills: 
We recommend Chapters One (“Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Innovation and Entrepreneurship”), Four (The Changed Competitive Landscape), Eleven (“Entrepreneurial Leadership and Culture”) and Twelve (“What the Future Holds.”)