3 Strategies from the Niche Virtual CEO Summit

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The Niche Virtual CEO Summit (Oct 6-7) just wrapped and we learned a lot from these target media CEOs and Owners!

Nearly 100 media leaders, industry partners and keynote speakers joined the online event to share ideas, brainstorm challenges and make new connections. (We used a platform called Hopin.to, if you’re curious.)

Three strategies kept coming up throughout the two days of the Summit. These ideas underpin many of the ad sales, audience engagement, and business growth strategies that were shared.


CEO Summit Strategy Foundations

1. Creativity is the Key to Success

COVID-19 turned 2020 revenue plans upside down for everyone, but many of the CEO Summit attendees got creative to ensure revenue flow and cost cuts that didn’t gut their business.

Pam Mashburn, Publisher at exploreMedia, moved her visitor guide ad traffic to programmatic website and social media placements, creating a $77,000 new revenue stream in the midst of the pandemic shutdowns of travel and tourism.

Rory Gillis, COO at Shannon Media, transformed local in-person dining events into sponsored virtual food and wine tastings. Curated meal coolers from local restaurants and a wine flight can be picked up or delivered for the events and include food samples and swag from local dining, grocery and retail. This program preserved event revenue dollars and gave a boost to Shannon Media’s local community businesses.


2. Don’t Try to Do it All Yourself

Several CEOs shared that contracting with outside support and consultants moved their business forward faster than doing things internally would have.

Whether you’ve reduced your team this year, or have limitations on team bandwidth, using an outside service or hiring a consultant can be a worthwhile investment to move revenue projects forward.

As Todd Tucker, President at Evansville Living, said, “(This) really put us into best practices mode…and created a lot of efficiencies for us.”


3. Pull Your Teams Together

Several CEOs shared that 2020 forced them to move into full team transparency. Making sure everyone understands the financials and how actions can impact the bottom line not only created an “all for one” culture, it furthered creative thinking on cost cuts and revenue ideas when COVID-19 hit.

Don Harkey, CEO at People Centric Consulting Group, shared how adopting The Great Game of Business model helped his company react instantly to business shutdowns in March. “We lost 30% of our revenue, and our major source of new leads – industry events. Within 48 hours, our team identified expense cuts of 30% to offset the lost revenue, and we did it without layoffs. The best part? I didn’t do it. Our team did it. Everybody was so knowledgeable about the business, they were able to implement these changes to get us through this downturn.”


We’ll have more CEO Summit revenue and business growth ideas coming up in the Niched Out News Blog, but keep these three foundations in mind as you read future blog posts, and as you assess your own business plans for 2021.


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Kristi Dougherty is the Content Queen (VP, Marketing & Programs) for Niche Media’s unique and dynamic conferences and resources for niche publishers. She has worked in media since the heady days of dot com magazines in the 90s and managed B-to-B, consumer, and association publications and events. Kristi has spoken at many media conferences, including Niche. When she isn’t obsessing over email design and building the perfect event agenda, she is hiking, snowshoeing, cooking, reading and napping. Sometimes all in one day.