If there is one word that has defined how media companies and brands have had to respond to COVID-19 in 2020, it is “agility”.

Across the industry, advertisers have had to quickly alter their messaging.

But the need for agility also extends to publishers.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Alysia Borsa, chief business and data officer at Meredith Corporation, says the lifestyle publisher has had to move quicker and in different directions to satisfy marketers.

Alternative content

“Where, before, we would have done an onsite shoot with celebrities and a lot of planning, that still will happen, but I think there’s going to be demand to get to market sooner and quicker,” Borsa explains.

“So, we’re going to have to come up with different alternatives of content than we have in the past. We’ve actually done that over the last six weeks where we had native content production scheduled to go, and then we had to shift to eve6153288984001ryone working from home.

“We worked directly with our advertising partners to provide different alternatives, to still execute against their demands and their needs to get their content out.”

Insight importance

But speed is not the only way Meredith is having to adapt to COVID-19.

Borsa says publishers now need to give marketers a deeper understanding of consumer behavior.

“We have to be able to identify consumer insights and react to those insights in more real-time than we have ever before,” she says.

“The consumers that we knew five months ago, the trends that we predicted of our consumers five months ago, we’ve got to re-evaluate all of that because there are going to be some fundamental shifts in how consumers behave, and how they interact, and what they demand of us. So, it heightens the need for consumer insights.

“Across our industry, we’ve had to become more flexible, and nimble, and agile in how we respond, (there is) a lot more of test and learn. So, across the board, there’s going to be an increased demand for data, for our business and for our clients.”

Performance marketing

The place agility and insights will combine is in impact.

Borsa says advertisers that are sticking around and leaning in are the ones that are focused on performance-driven advertising, using data to drive e-commerce sales.

That, she says, will drive the necessity to collect data and turn it into insights.

Meredith has been building out its own first-party data via the relationships its brands have with their subscribers.

This builds on top of a centralized topic taxonomy and data team.

This video is part of a series titled Navigating Accelerated Change, presented by Transunion.  For more videos, please visit this page.