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5 things for management to master in 2024

Will 2024 be a successful year for you? If you follow Jim Bilton’s advice, it could well be…

By Jim Bilton

5 things for management to master in 2024
Jim Bilton.

The “New Normal” is constant change. Or “Permacrisis”: a fast-moving, fragmenting and unpredictable marketplace:

  • Overarching economic stagnation, volatile confidence levels and rising operating costs will continue to dominate.
  • There are media-specific issues such as print and paper prices, volatile social media traffic, disappointing digital advertising volumes and yields and the trend from reading into short-form video, audio, etc.
  • In addition, the impact of AI on media is multi-faceted, a mix of pros and cons, and very unpredictable, with a lurking existential threat behind it all. Yet we all need to be using and experimenting with it.

Wessenden’s mediafutures surveys detail what this means in practice. Some companies are approaching 2024 with positive attack – their priorities sorted and being implemented at speed, resulting in positive growth and robust profits. At the other extreme, some operations are sinking, overwhelmed by the super-abundance of options wherever they look. The answer for everyone is the constant twisting of the business model Rubik’s-cube, with the occasional flip – changing direction and pace in an intense burst of activity. Twisting and flipping through permacrisis.

The five things for management to master in 2024

  1. Understand what works now and why. Refresh what works (this will probably pay the bills for the time being) and replace what does not work.
  2. Focus and prioritise. Doing too many things at once can undermine quality, consistency and brand image. It can also stretch and confuse staff to breaking point. Be ruthless about what needs to be done as opposed to what would be nice to do.
  3. Implement swiftly, but competently. Many great strategies flop because the boring task of project management is an afterthought. The wrong people are often in charge of the wrong things. Hasty judgements about external partners and suppliers will come back to bite – with a vengeance.
  4. Adapt. There are no lasting, “silver bullets”. Today’s good ideas degrade and become tired quickly. Today’s half-good ideas need fine-tuning. Today’s bad ideas need burying quickly, whilst analysing (and remembering!) the lessons learned.
  5. Just keep going. Confidence, resilience, energy and self-belief are just as critical for companies as for individuals.

Constant “Rubik’s-Cubing” also means…

  • Coming to rational assessments of (1) the value of owned content to the end user and (2) the price that can be charged for that. This will entail some radical re-assessments of the content architecture in terms of the content products and services and how they are packaged, with à-la-carte standalones versus service bundles being a key decision (which will probably be revised and tweaked constantly).
  • Having clear positions on internal culture (which must and should be relatively stable and consistent), organisational structure (probably in constant flux) and staff skills…
  • Knowing how to reskill the organisation raises a number of questions. Which capabilities are really needed? Do you rent them in (outsource), buy them in (recruit new people with new skills) or upskill existing staff?
  • And behind all the big issues, the top two challenges remain tech stacks and people.

This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2024, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here