Can Publishers Solve Our Growing Media Efficiency Crisis?

As the U.S. stares down an economic downturn in 2023, it's clear that publishers have some problem-solving to do.

Recessions have typically spelled layoffs throughout the media industry, potentially taxing a workforce that already has a higher churn rate than the national average. On top of this, many companies are seeking to diversify their models to weather the impending storm. This diversification, paired with the increasing complexity of ad buys, intensifies pressure on already overburdened media sales and ad ops teams.

As the work becomes more intricate, managers must oversee omnichannel ad campaigns across the media supply while also providing ongoing education for their teams. This is no small feat, especially in an industry known for constant change. The demands on employees are multiplying as quotas rise with pressure to do more with less, leading to a high potential for burnout. Employees are also often forced to work overtime due to manual processes that require more busy work than brain power.

The result is a perfect storm for publishers: a growing chasm between profitable growth targets and the available human and technological resources to meet them. To be successful, publishers must address the root causes of the crisis within their own organization and the industry at large. Here are four ways they can address the crisis in 2023:

1. Invest in Automation

The first and crucial step to solving the crisis is investing in automation wherever possible. Industry experts have been touting automation for years, but now is an ideal time for publishers to make the move. Tools are much easier to use and can be deployed across a variety of mundane use cases, including pre-sales and post-sales workflows, order entry, reporting, cross-channel integrations, and billing reconciliation; sophisticated publishers are even starting to leverage Robotic Process Automation technology to automate processes. When companies eliminate manual work, they allow teams to focus on more strategic, higher-value tasks. This leads to positive team morale and a more engaged workforce that can serve clients more effectively as trusted consultative sellers.

2. Enhance Customer Service

Investment in your people doesn’t stop there. Customer service is a key differentiator that can future-proof any company. Time and again, I’ve observed that delivering superior customer service, meeting campaign delivery promises, and investing in incremental revenue opportunities can take a company from “We might not be around in five years” to new hires, new channels, and new horizons. This is especially critical in a recession year. These elements will look different at every company, but supportive efforts—including aligning pre- and post-sales processes, creating accountability, establishing “pods” of team members, and providing abundant opportunities to connect to team culture—can make an impact well beyond the office walls (or the office Slack).

3. Offer value-add work

Another way to solve the media efficiency crisis is to emphasize value-add work for clients. This one is really about playing the long game instead of just getting by. When you make moves to create a work culture that emphasizes innovation, you are already adding value, but explicitly encouraging proactive campaign optimizations, customer service and consulting, and client management all pay dividends long term. The benefits here are two-fold: Team members are empowered to problem-solve and invest in individual clients with personalized, creative care while also expanding revenue with each of those clients. It’s a win-win.

4. Use data strategically

In an increasingly data-driven market, it should come as no surprise that publishers who are avoiding the worst of the media efficiency crisis are applying data strategically to revenue operations. While most companies are aware that they should be collecting data, many aren’t interpreting or applying it effectively. Without a strategy, data can become just another distraction. When data is well managed, interpreted, and applied, it can change the way your business is run, lighting the way forward with powerful insight. From data-driven cross-sell opportunities to minimizing client churn and contraction, data can help publishers reduce spend and instead invest those resources into areas with greater impact.

To navigate the burgeoning efficiency crisis, the publishing industry needs innovators. Leaders and teams ready to evolve alongside market changes and new demands can flip the current trends on their heads, creating stability and profitable growth in place of frustration, burnout, and turnover. By proactively investing in teams, value-added work, data, and automation, companies can meet increasingly complex challenges today instead of attempting to repair what’s left after the worst has already happened. These changes address the problems at the heart of the industry’s efficiency woes while ushering in a recession-proof future built on comprehensive solutions that will define the next era of digital publishing.


Boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting.

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