Anyone who has looked at the summary report from our recent European Broadcaster Summit will have noticed it took many thousands of words, and plenty of tables, just to capture the headlines. Perhaps that isn’t surprising.
When you bring together 150 people from 120 companies to explore 6 topics in 18 workshops over two days, a lot is going to get said.
And that’s why the summary report is well worth a read: it provides a huge amount of food for thought.
Download the summary report
Captured in a sentence
But whenever you step away from any major event, what you carry at the front of your mind isn’t all the material that will come to shape a summary report. It’s something far simpler than that.
In some weird world where German border police wouldn’t have let me onto my plane home until I’d reduced the previous two days to a Tweet, I would have scribbled: European broadcasters want to get to know fewer vendors better.
After they had deciphered my scrawl and, inevitably, waved me through, I might have called over my shoulder ‘..and that’s why we’ll be back.”
The truth, the whole truth
The Summit is unparalleled for the candour of the discussion between customer and supplier. The DPP sets out to create a safe space in which both parties can share their views and experiences in a way that is honest but productive.
Broadcaster executives often tell us they hate being spammed with vendor pitches. But they also admit that when vendors do finally get access to them, they often seem on their best behaviour – reluctant to be honest about what is required of the customer to get the best out of the solutions being put forward.
Herein lies the paradox. It is precisely the need for high quality relationships that makes customers so resistant to unsolicited approaches.
I can imagine that the body language of end users could easily be mistaken for aloofness or arrogance. In reality, what vendors are seeing is almost certainly the wariness of someone who has such big needs that they only want to share them with those they can really trust.
It’s not you, it’s us
The 20 European Broadcasters represented at this event were extraordinarily honest and self-aware when it came to describing the challenges their own organisations pose for anyone trying to help them. From decades of tech debt to mountains of red tape; from cultural resistance to strategic misalignment; from organisational silos to executive indecision – no one pretended to be perfect.
But here’s the thing: neither did anyone pretend they could overcome those challenges without the assistance of external partners.
It's good to share
How could that possibly be? How can anyone on the outside help fix what’s on the inside? What we heard is that they can do so in three ways:
First, by providing case studies of successful implementations for other customers that can in turn provide the ammunition and confidence required to persuade nervous senior decision makers.
Second, by taking part in early, honest and detailed dialogue which can often identify a solution only visible once both parties fully understand the environment in which they’ll be operating.
And third, by accepting that the customer is as much buying the partner as the product: relationships really matter, and good ones transcend so many other potential difficulties.
I’ve never heard an end user complain there are too many suppliers – just that they can’t find enough of the right ones. And that’s because they are often approached by companies who would never be appropriate to their needs, while struggling to identify others that would.
Our European Broadcaster Summit aims to provide a place where customers and suppliers can build a better understanding of each other; where both might see signals among all the noise from those they might work well with.
We like to think the Summit is a unique place in which such mutual understanding can be built. That’s why it will be one of our key annual events. And it’s why we’re happy to tell anyone we’ll be back.