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Media Intelligence : 2009 - 2010
B2B magazines B2B media – perception must change Trevor Kirk MD, The Magazine Publishing Company (TMPC) How do you believe B2B publishers will weather the current economic downturn? Overall I feel they will do quite well. B2B publications are more protected compared to consumer and mass media titles. A lot of the companies that utilise our publications realise that we have a very close relationship with our readers and they need to keep their name in front of them when times are tough. However it is dependent on the individual industry the publication is aimed at. We’ve found that in the current economic state, we have some titles that are down and some that are up, and this has a lot to do with the industry they are attached to. How are you marketing your products to advertisers? I am a fi rm beliver in personal contact with advertisers. That involves getting on the phone, getting out there in person and educating the marketplace on the titles that we represent and our relationship with our readers. You must really push with advertisers your title’s importance in the market place. I also believe in getting that message across in the marketing and media industry magazines. Our company regularly takes advantage of advertising opportunities in media magazines to push our company and our titles with media buyers. Our advertisements attempt to be simple yet creative to ensure we stand out and appeal to the savvy readers of these media magazines. We’ve found it’s a great way to get noticed in the industry. Are advertising decision makers suffi ciently knowledgeable in understanding the value of smaller circulation B2B publications? If not, what can be done about it? Unfortunately a lot of decision makers don’t truly value the intimate relationship a B2B magazine can have with a marketplace. Quite often they just look at the numbers, being the price of the advertisement compared to distribution, when really a decision should be made on which medium has the best relationship with the industry. There’s no benefi t in placing an advertisement in a publication with a huge distribution if those you’re targeting don’t actually read it. As to how to fi x this perception, that is a lot harder to answer. I believe a lot comes down to the experience and training of people involved in these roles. Over the last four years we have been lucky if a media buyer has stayed more than six months in a position. Hopefully with the slowing of the economy these people will be staying in their positions longer and will have the time to be mentored and trained by senior members of their organisation, and come to understand the value of B2B publications for their clients. Business models must change Mark Kuban Group Publisher, The Intermedia Group How do brand extensions assist the selling proposition and are they becoming a major part of the deal? Brand extensions have defi nitely become part of the deal. We have clients that never spend a penny in print or online advertising, yet they will gladly invest in full circle strategies, which is appealing for the client and for the brand. Brand extensions create an environment where clients can enter or exit relationships anywhere in the cycle. They may not want print advertising, but they’ll sponsor an award, or the client may not want to be involved with a conference but will consider spending a couple of day exchanging ideas with a dozen hand-picked individuals. If it’s appropriate and editorially robust, we’ll create a Q&A, roundtable, or weave it into a feature. 39 MEDIA Trends + Strategy p36-38_B2Bmags.indd 38 p36-38_B2Bmags.indd 38 3/7/09 12:00:44 PM 3/7/09 12:00:44 PM Our business model has changed dramatically even from only a few years ago. We’ve naturally progressed from print content to creating format neutral content. By format neutral, I mean content that can be disseminated through various channels and formats, and not specifi c to print or online. We’re utilising more video, actively participating in social networks, and produce an annual televised awards show. Advertisers love multiple touch points and if you can deliver primary and secondary audiences they’ll love you even more. How are you marketing your products to advertisers? We don’t really market our products in the traditional sense. We have a creative approach to sales and always deconstruct what we do and how we can do it better. We are good communicators and take time to really understand our verticals. Word of mouth is a superior tool and I’d like to think that our clients achieve good results and have a pleasant experience. I’d also go as far as saying that one shouldn’t underestimate the power of good culture. We’ve got a great team and we enjoy what we do, and that makes a difference – internally and externally. We also conduct sponsor debriefs with some of our events – these provide great insight and the exercise shows that you’re serious about a partnership and about ROI. People always talk about return-on-investment, but no one ever speaks about the cost-of-inaction (COI). Are advertising decision makers suffi ciently knowledgeable in understanding the value of smaller circulation B2B publications? If not, what can be done about it? It’s an interesting question and I do believe most advertisers have a basic understanding of B2B. Without inviting controversy I think that many B2B publishers are the least articulate when it comes to extolling the virtues of B2B publishing and the effectiveness of the medium. If one looks at other media sectors there is a plethora of supporting documentation and analytics which assists advertisers with making informed decisions and recommendations. If we want to grow as a sector then we need to seriously consider investment in research. There are a number of publishing houses that invest in internal research and I think you’ll fi nd that they are doing well in terms of revenue and market share. Any form of analytics helps build advertiser confi dence.
MT Resource 2010