Our conversation with Bob is part our our investor and advisor speaker series courtesy of Awin and can be streamed here (your registration information will be shared with our sponsor). More investor and advisor interviews can be accesses at the bottom of this article.
Much of Bob Berstein’s day-to-day work as a Managing Director at JEGI CLARITY is focused on advising internet and digital media companies. That often means helping a company think through how to best prepare for a transaction.
The components he thinks about when he positions a company include the place in the market, the opportunity for new growth and the persistence of the business model. Berstein looks for the ways the business is benefiting advertisers and consumers in the ecosystem and how the business can be” productive, viable and incremental.”
“If you have all those different components, then that starts getting really interesting,” he said. Berstein worked with the founding team of BestReviews as well as Tribune Publishing when Tribune Publishing sold the BestReviews website to Nexstar Media Group in 2020.
“That was kind of an early example for me spending time in that segment,” Berstein said.
There was a basic understanding of affiliate at that time, he said, and what got people excited was the idea that content development that was already happening could be combined with performance-based elements.
“That was a pocket of opportunity,” Berstein said. When looking at potential transactions, Berstein said he’s guided by thinking from the consumer perspective.
“At the end of the day, it’s about how is this beneficial? Is this incremental? Is this doing something that has a place in the ecosystem?” he said. “If you feel like it’s not beneficial for the consumer of there’s not a quality experience, then that’s a red flag immediately because that tells me the persistence might not be there.”
When thinking through those questions and answers, Berstein said it’s also important to recognize that there are many different audiences to be served.
“The idea that there’s some kind of universal consumer experience that happens even in this country is just false,” he said. So it’s about thinking through how a business can be useful to its correct audience. Figuring that out can be a way to ensure the persistence of a business model, he said.
Diversification – in terms of traffic sources, revenue sources and even verticals – is also key, Berstein said.
“You can move to where the demand is and ensure that once you get engaged with a customer, you’re going to be OK,” he said.
Berstein said we’re still in the early days and it can be hard for businesses to prioritize diversification and investing in different channels.
“But that’s what creates the persistence,” Berstein said. “And ultimately that’s what created enterprise value and interest by the investment community.”
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Chris Goodridge, President & COO, Vertical Scope
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