On the Path to Reinvention

CEO's Perspective

CEO's Perspective

When in 2017 Marquard Group embarked on its transformative journey – which is now best captured in the headline ‘from traditional print publishing to tech-driven media solutions’ – we had no idea where our path of explorative experimentation might eventually lead us to. Our purpose and target model are certainly gaining in contours as manifested in today’s ‘re-branding’ launch. But the future remains wide open.

Nonetheless, from the very start, everything we did has been guided by three core principles:

  1. Exit print and non-scalable activities as radically as feasible, diversify away from advertisement- to transaction-centric business models, and be creative and committed to exploiting growth opportunities in the existing business; for example, in the area of e-commerce we continue successfully leveraging trusted print brands while in the game-servers business we expand internationally. (Capture hidden opportunities in the ‘existing’ while building the future)
  2. Reinforce Gaming, IT, and Lifestyle as focus verticals, naturally and consistently connecting to our core DNA. (Connect to the past to build the future)
  3. Create a culture of fast-failure (from ideation to prototyping to market-testing) to support transformation towards a tech-driven media solutions company. (Embrace discipline and focus as a basis for continuous innovation and market scalability)

The biggest and hardest challenge in every transformation is to change the mindset and culture while anticipating the continuously arising competency gaps to meet the needs of a new and emerging enterprise. More importantly, keep focus on who is the client. A B-B-C focus has increasingly crystalized as part of our platform strategy. Today, as reflected in the re-branding which was entirely bottom-up rather than top-down driven, we succeeded in building a ‘high-energy’ and hierarchy-transparent culture. Meeting the competency gaps is an ongoing challenge.

COVID has challenged all of us, on a personal as well as business level. But more importantly, crises do not reverse but accentuate existing trends. And this is also true today: the productivity gains resulting from remote work, for example, continue further accelerating digitization. Overall, the re-purposing of resources away from areas that anyway had lost their right to growth (print being one of them) is creating new opportunities. From an economic perspective and possibly beyond, it is likely to be only a matter of time to appreciate 2020 as a turning point for the better. For now, we obviously have to deal with momentous unpredictability. And on this note, there is no better way to close but with a quote from Jim Collins, befitting the Marquard Group spirit of self-empowerment:

“Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.”

I am convinced that our transformative journey will continue inspiring existing as well as new team members and partners. In that regard, the voices of the team that accompany today’s rebranding launch do speak for themselves.