Media Makers Meet/Meet the Speaker: Focus on your audience’s ‘jobs to be done’. HomeAbout UsAgendaSpeakersSponsorsMeetVenueBlogContact usRegistration now closed Alexander Drößler Author: Cobus HeylPosted: 3rd Oct 2022 Blog navigationPrevious Blog: We need to talk about the sizzling specialist media sectorNext Blog: Final Mx3 Berlin Meet the Speaker: Fantastic news for specialist media The Di5ru.pt blog Landwirtschaftsverlag is a German publisher focused on agriculture, food and country living. Founded in 1946, the company has 900 employees, more than 40 brands and around 8 million readers. Alexander Drößler is the Digital Product Leader at Landwirtschaftsverlag. He will join us at Media Makers Meet in Berlin – on 19 & 20 October – for a conversation about digital transformation in nascent media companies. A few tickets remain for the event. Sign up here, using the promo code “Di5rupt_20“, to get 20 per cent off the standard rate with our Meet the Speaker offer. Learn more about Media Makers Meet at mediamakersmeet.com. Below, we asked Alexander to tell us more about himself, as well as to what he sees as the main challenges and opportunities for specialist media. Tell us about yourself. Initially, I did not want to work with publishing houses. I found radio much more exciting, so I wanted to become a radio host. Now, at 32, my whole career has been in publishing houses. When I lived in the US in 2013 and 20114 to study at the Missouri School of Journalism, I became increasingly obsessed with digital transformation and the emergence of new digital news products as I visited companies like the Washington Post and POLITICO. I live in Hamburg and Münster since June, working in a hybrid model of remote and office days. Tell us about your earlier career. Before joining Landwirtschaftsverlag, I worked with regional newspapers. I spent one and a half years at Nordkurier, a newspaper from North-East Germany. I focused on newsroom transformation and product development as their Digital Transformation Manager. We created audience-focused products such as the award-winning “Heimweh-Newsletter”, a newsletter for people who moved away but are still connected to the region and built a news app. Between 2015 and 2020, I worked with Neue Westfälische, a newspaper from my hometown Bielefeld. With my background in journalism, I started as a digital editor. I began focusing on product when I got to work with Lokalportal; a startup Neue Westfälische was involved with. We built a neighbourhood platform similar to Nextdoor, but with a close connection to local news. We saw news as conversation and Lokalportal as its host, with journalists as conversation drivers. In the end, we failed, but the whole experience was quite educational. I grew from a young product manager to a team lead. In 2020/21, I was part of the inaugural cohort of the Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where I learned, for example, from Anita Zielina and Jeff Jarvis. Tell us about your current role. I am fairly new to the field of B2B media: In March 2022 I joined Landwirtschaftsverlag Münster to lead their new cross-functional digital unit “top agrar”. In our team of 20, engineers, product, UX/UI, SEO, social, marketing, advertising, data and editorial work together to increase digital revenues of our main publication “top agrar”, with a focus on subscriptions. The new structure breaks down silos and gives us the opportunity to work more holistically and much faster. Beforehand there was a smaller team with a focus on product engineering, responsible for all publications, and then the specialist departments and newsrooms. In the first months in my role, I focused on creating a culture of user-centricity, exploration and testing; a shared goal with shared responsibilities and our product strategy. 4. What are the main challenges for specialist media? In my opinion, the main challenge for nascent publishers is not to be disrupted, but to be the disruptor. We need to focus on our audiences’ “jobs to be done”, not on the products we deliver, like, for example, a magazine. Our job is to help our audiences to succeed, regardless of the distribution medium. This requires a cultural change: We must learn new skills to explore, when we come from a culture of exploitation of our cash cows. What does it mean to be truly user-centric? How can we break up silos to collaborate? How do we become agile and fast learners? How do we focus on a shared goal that be gained in many small incremental steps? Answering questions like these is genuinely critical to me. In addition, I think a big challenge is improving the tech stacks that grew from print-centric organizations. Digital-born verticals have an advantage here. What are the main opportunities? To have a well-defined and well-known audience who receives clear value from consuming specialist media products. Compared those consumer media that have a rather broad focus (for example, defined by proximity in case of regional newspapers), it might be easier for B2B media to adopt the concept of “jobs-to-be-done” and develop audience-focused digital products. The better they help a customer to get a job done, the higher the probability to make money with them. Meet Alexander and more than 30 other speakers, as well as other attendees from 17 countries, at Media Makers Meet in Berlin on 19 & 20 October. A few tickets remain for the event. Sign up here, using the promo code “Di5rupt_20“, to get 20 per cent off the standard rate with our Meet the Speaker offer. Learn more about Media Makers Meet at mediamakersmeet.com.