Cover Story: Building A Sustainable Future
The digital producer she hired has a background in both camps. "He will work in conjunction with the editor to help figure out what [a piece of content] is going to look like on a tablet, … a website, … an iPhone, [and] how they all work together in a coherent ecosystem," she says. "He's a whiz at social media, so that will help not only with readers' connection and engagement but, frankly, smart social media marketing."
Lastly, she says, he will work with art directors and editors to ensure they can focus on their core competencies rather than being tasked with too many digital asset management duties—in her words, to keep the "poets" distinct from the "quants."
"I want [editorial] to know how to do [digital asset management], but I really want them to come up with awesome content," she says. "I'll figure out how to execute it and shove it through the pipes. That's really where I see this [digital producer] role as being key."
A Different Approach to Custom Publishing
This commitment to integrating staff resources and know-how without watering down assets also is seen in one of Future U.S.'s most successful ventures, custom publishing. "Typically in U.S. publishing companies, there is this other department somewhere over there that takes the stuff that's already been done, and pretties it up and tries to resell to someone," Marcom says. "… [Future uses] models that are much more like traditional consumer publishing. We create the products from scratch, with the participation and financial support of a commercial partner, but the result is a product that really looks much more like a consumer product that over time will generate subscription and advertising revenue for us, and for the partners to defray the whole investment on their part. So it's not just an advertising expense [for them], it's more like a marketing expense that pays dividends in all sorts of ways."