Putting Lipstick on a Pig

Although perfectly understandable given TMGs strategic drive to be a 100% digital business, it was sad to see the closure of its free, general classified offering 'ADTRADER' last week.

Having been hired by the Trader Media Group (Trader Publishing Ltd. to be exact) back in 2009 to turn around the fortunes of the flailing 'magazine with a website' proposition; with the help of the existing team, a few new hires and the guidance from a external consultant (who I will be forever indebted), AdTrader soon became a 'website with a magazine' - New product strategy, new pricing structure, new product staircase, new multi-media sales packages, new Online Ads process, SEO front and foremost, SEM to support, revamped the print filler to drive online migration, partnerships, training etc etc

A job well done by all concerned, working tirelessly over the tail-end of 2009, into 2010 and beyond. A return to growth, profitability and stability.

While its still fresh in my mind, thought I'd map out the steps undertaken within the high-level work plan to turn this whole thing around. While sat in the Madejski Stadium one evening, a mission once described by an ex-colleague as 'putting lipstick on a pig'.

As best I remember, it went along the lines of ... 

Develop a new / validate the existing direction:

– External assessment including market sizing, understanding buyer and seller behaviour, competitive analysis

– Benchmark/case studies of similar products in their print to online migration to understand and define key success factors and migration path

– Internal assessment including strategy, current business and product plans, business models, proposition and pricing, revenue and profit driver analysis (likely segmented by geography and medium), circulation and usage assessment

– Value chain analysis

– SWOT analysis

– Development and assessment of numerous strategic alternatives

– Selection of one strategic direction

– Define required capabilities vs existing capabilities

Develop an execution based business Plan with 5-6 Key areas of focus:

– Key areas of focus identified

– Key initiatives under each area of focus detailed including quantification (as appropriate), implementation plan (responsibilities, timeline) and metrics (target performance financial and non-financial KPIs)

– Reporting framework developed to measure and monitor performance to plan

Think you'll agree, a simple however effective template for anyone starting a new role and - looking to make an immediate impact with say a 30 / 60 / 90 day plan - could follow. 

Let me know what you think. 

AdTrader Closure.JPG