Q&A with Jack Myers, Media Ecologist, Founder at MediaVillage
Media 7 | April 24, 2020
Jack Myers, Media Ecologist, and Founder at MediaVillage has influenced the decisions of hundreds of global, national and regional media, marketing, advertising and entertainment companies and organizations for over forty years. More than 150 companies, organizations and industry leaders are members of MediaVillage.
After serving in leadership roles at Metromedia Outdoor, ABC-Radio, CBS-TV and UTV Cable, Jack launched The Myers Report, which for more than three decades has been a go-to innovation partner for more than 200 companies across the marketing and media ecosystem and the industry leader in forecasting the impact of technological advances on culture, marketing, media and entertainment. After a decade of development, Jack launched MediaVillage, now the industry’s most influential platform for thought leadership and a global advocate for the role and value of media to society, culture and business.
MEDIA 7: For those in our audience who are new to it, could you describe MediaVillage?
JACK MYERS: MediaVillage was launched in 2010 under the direction of veteran industry strategist and trend forecaster Jack Myers. Fifteen founding media companies embraced Myers’ recommendation that they transcend territorial competition to develop and implement industry-wide solutions for competing in the digital marketplace. For the past decade, MediaVillage, in collaboration with partners across the marketing ecosystem, has been pilot testing innovative strategies for generating growth. Today, more than 150 companies, organizations and industry leaders are members of the MediaVillage Center of Excellence.
• MARKET RESEARCH: Under The Myers Report brand, MediaVillage collects, analyzes and shares B2B and consumer data and insights to guide and support our members’ growth priorities and marketing communications.
• MARKET INTELLIGENCE: MediaVillage hosts and manages the B2B marketing platforms for more than 100 member companies, industry trade associations, non-profit advocacy groups, and education providers, each published independently under the MediaVillage Knowledge Exchange. Together they represent the media industry’s only unified force for growth.
• CONTENT MARKETING: MediaVillage.com hosts the commentaries, thought-leadership and insights of the media industry’s most respected columnists, journalists and industry experts, reaching professionals across the marketing, media, entertainment and education ecosystem.
• DIVERSE TALENT DEVELOPMENT: MediaVillage has been a leading advocate for diversity, equality and inclusion, founding WomenAdvancing. org in 2011, 1stFive.org in 2014 and, in 2017, the Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors. Under Myers’ leadership, the Advancing Diversity Council represents the media, marketing, advertising and entertainment community’s commitment to advancing diversity from advocacy to activism.
• EDUCATION & MEETING PREPARATION: To support the on-demand knowledge needs of brand marketers, agency professionals, media industry suppliers, educators, content studios, content creators and diverse communities, MediaVillage is launching MeetingPrep.com, an open AI-fueled search and market intelligence platform. In addition to the most accurate and relevant vertical industry search engine, MeetingPrep will incorporate Giide, an interactive audio learning app; Ad Learning Exchange, a curriculum-focused online education resource; and Advancing Diversity Meet-Ups, connecting talent to jobs.
The power of MediaVillage comes from the engagement and real-world experience of companies and organizations. Through our collective impact approach, we implement effective and cost efficient B2B growth solutions.
"The power of MediaVillage comes from the engagement and real-world experience of companies and organizations."
M7: What inspired you to found MediaVillage? How has the journey been so far?
JM: MediaVillage evolved from B2B market research uncovering the media and advertising indusrty’s under-investment in four core areas required for growth: economic market intelligence and accurate trend forecasting; educational resources to serve stakeholders as relationships shift from personal to digital; content marketing and effective executive leadership communications; and commitment to diversity/talent development. After years of consulting with media, advertising, marketing and entertainment companies focused on revenue growth strategies, I understood that individual company growth could only be achieved at the expense of competitors – a share-shift marketplace.
MediaVillage was inspired by the recognition that there was no voice of advocacy for the total media, marketing, advertising ecosystem, leading to the launch of MediaVillage in 2015.
M7: What would you like to tell us about the books you have written?
JM: My first two books, Adbashing; Surviving the Attacks on Advertising and Reconnecting with Customers: Building Brands and Profits in The Relationship Age, have proven to be prophetic. At the time, they were considered to be overly concerned about the negative impact of technology on the media economy. Looking back, Adbashing predicted the economic headwinds facing media and advertising companies today.
Reconnecting Customers expressed concern about the growing commoditization of advertising investments and the need to focus on strong media brands. Over the past 20 years since Reconnecting was published, marketing budgets have remained flat. Factoring inflation, marketers are achieving their goals while investing at only two-thirds their investment level in 2000.
My last three books have focused on the societal and cultural impact of Internet and mobile accessibility, with an emphasis on the role and influence of the first generation to be born post-Internet (1993). Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World (2012) presented the first research available on this young generation that we no refer to as Gen-Z. I referred to them as the “N-Gen”, referring both to the Internet Generation and the “Engine of the Future Economy.”
Virtual Worlds & Social Networks: Rewiring Our Emotional DNA(2014) reflected the fundamental shift in brain processes, personal relationships, and the impact of future generations’ immersion in gaming and social networks. It’s a short and sweet series of essays and the final chapter, a short story, may be the most creative writing I’ve every done.
My last book, The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century (2016), was written in response to my research for Hooked Up that established the growing dominance and influence of females among the Internet Generation. There was no research on the impact of feminism and a shift in gender norms on men and especially young men. I anticipated the inevitability of #MeToo and the growing male backlash against a society in which they no longer have the priviledge and dominance they once commanded.
"Change comes only when it’s forced, and Covid-19 may be a catalyst for much needed change in the media, advertising and marketing business."
M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day to day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely? What does your remote tech stack look like?
JM: From a business perspective, the economic realities of Covid-19 empower our fundamental value proposition. Corporations, and especially large media and advertising companies, are organized into disconnected silos – each with independent budgets, priorities and responsibilities. The basic corporate structure today follows a decentralized model designed in post-WW II 1940s by Peter F. Drucker and described in The Concept of the Corporation.
Our success at MediaVillage depends on a retooling of organizations that breaks down silos and centralizes core capabilities for coordinated management. The Covid-19 drive toward greater efficiency in B2B marketing and enhanced business development capabilities is significantly increasing demand for our collective management approach while at the same time, we’ve been forced to scale back our investments and leadership team. Personally, I’ve shifted from a focus on financial partnerships to day-to-day managemeht of all aspects of the business. Plus I’ve launched a series of 24 Collective Leadership for Renewal & Growth Zoom Conversations, each of which requires preparation and planning. I’m busier than ever.
M7: Do you think we will constantly be looking over our shoulders and have to have a remote plan ready?
JM: Moot question at this point, although I shift our office to a remote workplace on March 10th and intend to remain remote into the foreseeable future.
"Individual company growth could only be achieved at the expense of competitors – a share-shift marketplace."
M7: What do you do in your free time? How do you deal with stress and challenges?
JM: Like everyone else, I’m binge viewing TV. I write, which could seem like work but doesn’t. My wife and I enjoy spending time with each other, taking long walks and drives. Typically, I’d be enjoying Yankee games on TV and at the Stadium, as a 35-year season ticket holder. I have the good fortune that I don’t get especially stressed. My work is personally fulfilling and offers relief to any sense of being closed in and restricted.
M7: What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
JM: Be more self-confident. Build a business plan before investing in ideas, no matter how much you belief in their ultimate promise. Don’t assume businesses will change or executives will advocate for change just because a better way of doing business is obvious and proven.
Change comes only when it’s forced, and Covid-19 may be a catalyst for much needed change in the media, advertising and marketing business. Most of these changes were clearly on the horizon and predictable. I believe most of the economically-driven restructuring of business I anticipate over the next two years would have occurred anyway, but probably not until the end of this decade.
MediaVillage is the industry leader in b2b market intelligence, effective content marketing, talent development and education. As business models evolve, so do the opportunities to advance growth through a Collective Impact Model focused on activating and amplifying marketing, talent development, education and business solutions.
Our Collective Impact Model enables MediaVillage members to generate 25%-35% cost efficiencies from B2B marketing budgets. We enable and empower collaborative teams to generate measurable success and growth in a highly competitive market. We focus on breaking down the bureaucratic inertia and resistance to change that prevent growth and competitive differentiation.