Publishers and media companies get attention when they invest in technology. However, for every headline written about The Washington Post under Jeff Bezos, The New York Times‘ Innovation Report, and even TRONC, are there just as many untold stories about companies who chose to rely on outside expertise? We explored how, for one media company, investing in technology didn’t mean bringing it in-house.
In a recent case study with Parse.ly client Greentech Media, we highlighted a premium content subscription offering that the company rolled out in 2015. Part of what made the execution and launch of that product a success, according to Co-founder Rick Thompson, was GTM’s decision to partner with technology companies instead of trying to invest internal resources.
“We, as a company, decided to not have an internal development team; instead, we work with a partner: Vector Media Group,” Thompson said of his company’s choice to work with a development agency. “Vector works with different clients and on different types of websites. They’re always up-to-speed with the latest in technology, and can make specific recommendations for the platform and CMS that we use.”
Specifically, Thompson pointed out that this partnership allows the GTM team to remain focused on keeping up with the market it covers — renewable energy — instead of trying to keep up with the latest technology trends in media. “It keeps us very forward-looking and on top of technology trends, which we would have a much harder time doing if we had an internal team of developers who were only looking at Greentech Media.”
Bringing Tech Experience to a Media Company
Vector shares the opinion that its diversity of experience helped GTM and its other clients, including the Associated Press and The Economist, reach success faster than had they done the work internally.
Matt Weinberg, co-founder and partner at Vector, explained why, from the beginning, the partnership with Greentech Media made sense in terms of the technology needs. Weinberg remembers the company having a lot of different systems: “one for news, one for ecommerce, one for blogs and one for events.”
Vector’s expertise in making integrated systems has allowed GTM to capitalize on what it does best: digest and analyze the emerging solar and clean energy markets. Vector’s work streamlining the CMS, events and other systems allows GTM to make most of the content and research it creates. The company believes its continued success in everything from event registrations to research subscriptions has benefitted from this technology upgrade.
Beyond expertise, the other benefit of the partnership is speed, says Weinberg. He credits the nimble system that the Vector team built for GTM as part of what allowed to company to evolve faster. The system has supported the ability to ramp up ad operations, create dedicated mini-sites for events (some of which are multi-lingual), respond to user needs through redesigns, and most recently add a premium content paywall.
What Makes This Agency – Client Relationship Work
Like any good partner, Weinberg is quick to point out that the success is due to GTM and the team there.
“They have the ability to move quickly and make decisions quickly. Internally, their team understands their site and its audience very well. They have clear goals,” said Weinberg. The trust the two teams have in each other also contributes to the success of the partnership.
In an interview with Inc., Weinberg shared his philosophy on how Vector approaches building that trust. He said that over time his team has stayed in the game by giving honest advice to their clients, “even if it meant a little less short-term business for us. Doing that has helped build a good name and reputation and more than paid for itself, as it builds great trust with our clients.”