E-News : May 11, 2010
Special Annual Conference Edition
Don't Miss Tomorrow's Forrester Webinar on Social Media!
Tomorrow, May 12, at 2:00 PM EST, ABM and Forrester will join forces to present a free, members-only webinar, dedicated to key findings about social media's role in the b-to-b buying process, concluded from a Forrester study conducted exclusively for ABM.
Join us and learn:
- How to guide media professionals in developing successful b-to-b social media strategies using Forrester's Social Technographics™ behavior profile
- How to develop programs that engage different buyer behavior tendencies and identify which social media tools matter at specific points in the b-to-b purchasing process
- The most engaged markets by industry
- How b-to-b media and information services companies should integrate social media with other media platforms to optimize the way b-to-b marketers reach business decision-makers
ABM Welcomes Two Members, Names New Board of Directors and Officers
American Business Media’s membership continues to broaden, as the ABM board of directors approved two new members during their May 2nd meeting in Charleston, SC.
New members include one U.S. media organization and one associate member.
Additionally, ABM named several new board members and selected the 2010-2011 board of directors to serve during its 104th year.
The following board members will serve as officers, beginning July 1:
Chair: Charles McCurdy, Chairman & CEO, Canon Communications LLC/Apprise Media LLC
Vice Chair: William Pollak, President & CEO, ALM
Secretary: Anthea Stratigos, CEO, Outsell Inc.
Treasurer: Jeffry Lapin, President, Farm Progress Companies
Past Chair: Peggy Walker, President/COO, Vance Publishing Corp.
ABM welcomed new board members Andrew Goodenough, President & CEO, Summit Business Media; Jeffrey Killeen, Chairman & CEO, GlobalSpec; and Douglas Manoni, CEO, SourceMedia.
‘Tweetable Tweets’ from ABM’s Annual Conference
ABM’s Annual Conference didn’t just occur in Charleston this year … The event was well attended and represented throughout Twitterville. Here are a few of the “Tweetable Tweets” that media folks were inspired to share:
AmBusinessMedia Hughes: There are tremendous opportunities out there ... "The brave and the smart will win" #ABMAC10
TPLDrew Charlie McCurdy quoting Ben Franklin to media execs: We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang! #abmac10/via @naomireiter
AudDevMag Rick Boucher takes the stage to talk about online privacy. 'I personally like targeted advertising.' #ABMAC10
wpollak Listening to Lead Gen panel at #abmac10 wondering why so few law firms practice sophisticated lead gen?
AmBusinessMedia Breaking news out of Charleston #ABMAC10: Rep. Boucher Announces Details of Online Privacy Legislation -- Release: http://bit.ly/aLuHUJ
seangriffey Good reminder from @tpldrew. We need to actively help our editors build their own brand. #abmac10
mbigg @tpldrew good presentation at #abmac10. Really well done and thought provoking. Especially, "make each medium different and unique!"
roboregan Nielsen's Sabrina Crow: We lose our ability to innovate when we look at ourselves as subject matter experts. #abmac10
M2Musings There are times to interact with what you read and times to contemplate in private- I think there is room for both.
foliomag Penton's Warren Bimblick at #ABMAC10: Market share has been traditionally about print. Now it's trying to understand total spend.
RobYoegel RT @roboregan: Booz's Matt Egol: Real insights come from knowing what users are doing 3 mins before and 3 mins after they interact w/your content. #abmac10
PatMcGrew RT @AmBusinessMedia: Squires: Print subscribers are showing strong interest in renewing subscriptions with a digital product included #ABMAC10
michelleberdeal RT @juntajoe: I think it's funny that the biggest content marketing challenge for UPS (a shipping company) was postage expense. #abmac10
jyarmis RT @RobertCollins: Best quote of the day "Technology isn't killing print, #publishers are." -Andrew Davis (@TPLDrew) at#abmac10
Flipping_Pages RT @roboregan: RT @emediavitals NIM’s Squires: e-readers require new content, ad models http://bit.ly/9Xoshh
Read more by logging on to Twitter and searching #ABMAC10.
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A record number of b-to-b media industry leaders attended ABM’s 2010 Annual Conference last week in Charleston, SC. Over 50% of attendees were media member executives, the highest proportion ABM President/CEO Gordon Hughes has seen in his 16-year tenure.
Reflecting ABM’s multi-platform strategy, the Conference featured a remarkable panel on lead generation, and almost 20% of the programming was devoted to e-readers and mobile devices, delivering diverse solutions for making money today, under current market conditions, and preparing for the turnaround, which most attendees believe is just getting lift-off.
One of the meeting’s key speakers was Congressman Rick Boucher, whose announcement on proposed privacy legislation made major headlines in the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, among others, and is currently drawing comments from a number of other associations.
Hugh Roome and members of ABM’s Government Affairs Committee will be reaching out to all accredited reps about a conference call to be held next Monday, May 17, in order to harvest comments from the membership. This bill will have a tremendous impact on our industry – not only on the digital front, but in print and face-to-face arenas as well – so we strongly encourage you to join your industry peers in this call to action.
Despite the fact that the meeting was all business, Sunday evening was an exception, with a ceremony honoring Gordon Hughes’ tenure at ABM and bidding farewell as he leaves the Association for Broadway.
It was clear from the content of this year’s Annual Conference, as well as last November’s Executive Forum, that ABM is providing remarkable leadership on a variety of revenue fronts – digital, face-to-face, print, custom media, business information and marketing services – which will undoubtedly continue during the Association’s 2010 Executive Forum this November in Chicago.
Click here to view video from the Conference.
Rep. Boucher Announces Details of Online Privacy Legislation
(See Wall Street Journal coverage here)
Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) kicked off the Annual Conference by announcing details of draft legislation for online privacy, which would be posted online the following day. In detailing the legislation, Boucher said, "Our purpose is not to interfere with legitimate behavioral advertising, but there is a great deal of concern from Internet users on how their information is being used."
The legislation will apply to all activities, online and offline, in which advertisers use information collected from consumers to target ads to the consumer's apparent interests. But Boucher said its primary purpose was to clarify the rules for online targeted advertising, often known as "behavioral advertising."
In his address to attendees, Boucher said, "I personally like targeted advertising, and most of the products I buy are the result of targeted advertising."
Boucher noted that a recent New York Times article suggested that behavioral advertising was declining, possibly because of regulatory uncertainty. He hoped that his bill would provide certainty and thus encourage the growth of behavioral advertising.
The bill would initially require that all Web sites that collect information from consumers give consumers notice with respect to what information is collected, how it is used, who it is shared with, and the circumstances under which it is shared. Consumers would be given control over collection and use practices under an opt-out protocol. Boucher emphasized that under an opt-out system, the default is that information can be collected and used as described in the Web site's policy.
The general opt-out system would apply to first-party Web publishers – those who offer ads themselves that directly target their own customers. It would also apply to situations where a third-party advertising network is used, but the ad network uses information from the site's customers solely to target ads to customers of the original Web site or its affiliates.
Regarding advertising networks that gather information from consumers across multiple unaffiliated Web sites (known as unrelated third-party networks), an opt-in requirement would apply, unless the third-party network provided a series of special disclosures and choice opportunities to consumers. Specifically, to avoid the opt-in requirement, such an ad must include a link that takes a user to information describing how the ad was targeted to the user. The ad must also include a link taking the user to their personal profile held within the ad network and must give the user the opportunity to edit their profile. Lastly, such an ad must contain a third link allowing a user to opt out of data collection and targeted ads by all entities in the advertising network.
The opt-in requirement would also apply to the collection or sharing of sensitive data, meaning information about financial transactions or account numbers, medical history, government identifiers such as Social Security numbers, geographical identifying information, and information about children or adolescents.
Boucher said that his proposed bill incorporates what he called "best practices that exist today among those involved in Internet advertising." He noted that Google and Yahoo, for example, currently provide opportunities for consumers to register their choices with respect to targeted advertising.
Boucher stated that his proposed bill would preempt state legislation on the subject, and would delegate civil enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission.
Pearls of Wisdom from the 2010 (Digital) CEO Roundtable
One of the Annual Conference’s most anticipated sessions each year is the CEO Roundtable, during which attendees are treated to wisdom from captains of the media industry. Here are a few pearls on navigating media’s changing landscape from Rob Feinstein of Business.com, GlobalSpec’s Jeff Killeen, and Steve Weitzner of Ziff Davis Enterprise:
Killeen: Put the right content in the right format at the right time, in front of a targeted audience.
Feinstein: Creating loyalty via quality content has paid off in audience development.
Weitzner: Regarding content and lead generation, it's still all about the content. You have to be willing to produce valuable content and put it where it needs to live and not worry about the walls.
Feinstein: The “one to many” model is being broken up; advertisers now want one-to-one outreach. Media companies are a source of leads for advertisers. More broadly-available metrics are driving advertiser decisions. Meanwhile, users want more information in order to make purchasing decisions.
Killeen: A hard lead is a “contactable” lead. Look at which competitors and alternative products are viewed online and use analytics to track current and potential clients.
Feinstein: Research shows a relationship between branding and responsiveness to lead-based advertising. Business.com is offering both.
Killeen: Continue to develop registered users globally and the virtual events business. GlobalSpec has zero virtual events now, but will have 40 next year.
Products and Operations
Feinstein: In order to evolve, media companies should focus on rapid evolution to enrich the audience experience.
Weitzner: The challenge is how to maintain the agility to change in a rapidly-changing environment with new competitors emerging that media companies did not foresee. Bring in experts and give your in-house people time to adapt to each new “bet.”
Killeen: Talent cooperation is necessary between editorial, marketing and I.T. Media leaders must be present to manage and facilitate that cooperation.
Feinstein: Augment traffic with traffic on other sites to satisfy the needs of advertisers.
Killeen: In order to morph into product transactions, place buy buttons on product pages.
Lead Gen in 2010
One of the phrases buzzing around the Annual Conference last week was lead generation and three leaders in the space—Prescott Shibles, CEO of Vital Business Media, Equipment Data Associates (EDA) President Bill Ault, and Sean Griffey, CEO of FierceMarkets—were on hand to share their lead gen tactics.
Kicking off the session, Shibles suggested focusing on the “4 S’s” of digital media: scale, segmentation, save, and smarts. So how do you know if this aspect of your business is scaling? A possible benchmark to grow your lead gen division is that it should be 25 percent of your print business, Shibles offered, adding that online tools such as SEMRush can be used to find out exactly what is being spent on a click in order to get at what a lead is worth.
Segmentation options include user behavior, geography (to target events), demographics (profile data), social (for conversion opportunities), membership (50 percent of Hearst’s subscriptions are driven by the Web), and contextual (to target ads, tie subject matter to creative and invest in your CMS). Shibles quoted AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: “CMS’s are the new ad servers.” In tough times, free online tools such as Google Analytics save on lead gen operations costs. And get smart; all staff should undergo formal digital training, Shibles said.
Meanwhile, Ault advised focusing on value exchange lead generation – offering an audience something of value for free in exchange for dedicated traffic and qualified leads. He gave Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, and Google as examples of top Web sites that offer free content and “cool tools.” Target a niche audience with valuable workflow or reference information, such as product history, that can often be found online or within your company’s archives, and offer it for at least less than current providers are charging … or better yet, for free, Ault said. Publishers can then sell leads to multiple areas of customers, including manufacturers, advertisers and finance companies.
For Griffey, the name of the game is guaranteeing customers leads at the beginning of a campaign and then following through. That means building trust. FierceMarkets tracks lead generation trends across industries via multiple verticals in order to sell interaction with a subset of an audience. While email is the “nuclear option,” it can quickly result in list exhaustion. Griffey warned that a lead is asking someone to interact with advertising and an inappropriate lead does damage to an audience. Rather, be creative to find out more about a potential lead before adding them to a list, he said. Score, nurture and prioritize leads, added Shibles.
The Future of Digital is … Print?
In order to make some sense of print's place in the rapidly-evolving media space, Andrew Davis, Chief Strategy Officer of Tippingpoint Labs, offered the following nine tips as food for thought:
1) The future of digital is print. Use your digital products to offer everyday content and leverage the relationship that your audience has with your print products to offer deeper, richer content worth keeping. Digital content should be 1,000 words or less, multi-media, shallow and broad; print content should be 1,600 words or more, deep, narrow, and offer high-quality perks such as feature photography. Look at the most shared content on your digital platforms and expand that content in your print offering.
2) The death of print is in print – it’s not dying, just evolving.
3) Just because more content is available does not mean one can consume more content. The opportunity for publishers is in curation, modality, introductions, talent, and not more, but better, information.
4) Your piece of the pie isn't getting bigger, just being sliced in new and different ways.
5) Advertisers are buying more, and media is getting paid less. Refocus on your primary brand rather than offering a variety of offerings for the same amount of money.
6) Increasing media doesn't always increase reach. Stop trying to replicate your brand online – rather, differentiate each platform. Each new medium fragments reach and increases inventory, which is damaging to selling advertising because the limited number of advertisers cannot sustain all that inventory. (And paywalls won't work – news is free.)
7) Technology isn't killing print, publishers are. Media companies must provide print value by leveraging media modality. Think of the places your audience will not bring a digital platform and create a long-form content print product that will occupy them in those places. And rather than devaluing journalists cloistered in cubes, invest in their sub-brands within your brand. They are the “rockstars” that connect with your audience.
8) Audio books don't encourage reading, but listening. Your audience uses various platforms in different ways. Use tactics such as occasion-based marketing to tap into opportunities to offer valuable content on a new medium. For example, offer business briefs on Kindle to provide traveling executives with time-saving and valuable content.
9) There is no separation of church and state. Earned media is a $6 billion industry that now sells access to an audience, not good content; paid media (agencies) is a $600 billion industry that is taking media dollars. Cut out the agency middle man! Rather than preaching the philosophy of separation of church and state, use the reality of checks and balances to protect content quality and earn audience trust.
Media Visionaries Share Visions for B-to-B Success
Two of ABM’s largest members are Penton Media and The Nielsen Company, and two visionaries that help run the show at those companies are Warren Bimblick, SVP of strategy and business development at Penton, and Sabrina Crow, managing director/SVP at Nielsen. Bimblick and Crow shared their visions for success with attendees during ABM’s Annual Conference.
According to Bimblick, publishers have the heart of their markets, and can leverage that position by organizing for each vertical with a market leader and by asking customers what they want. “There can't be five brands vying for one market share,” he said. “There have to be killer brands for discreet audiences.”
Crow agreed, advising publishers to ask themselves: “Is the audience engaged with the content, no matter what the medium?” Try things quickly and inexpensively and let the audience decide what succeeds, she added.
Both speakers reminded attendees to have a consultative approach to sales. “Serve your audience profoundly as a trusted adviser, not a vendor,” said Crow. “Vendors get dropped in tough times.”
Finally, Bimblick advised working with all channels, including retailers, manufacturers, etc. “We want money from everyone,” he said.
Leveraging Mobile's 'App Opp'
“We're trying to help magazines become a habit on mobile,” Texterity President Martin Hensel told attendees at ABM's Annual Conference. He advised publishers to focus on creating a compelling reader experience by leveraging the brand authority that full issue magazines provide and offering a unified print, Web and mobile application experience.
A unified approach does not mean replicating content across all platforms. Rather, Hensel advised in-application Web access and – reiterating an emerging speaker theme at the event – understanding content for various platforms: Digital platforms such as mobile should focus on short-form content, while long-form content should be displayed in print products.
He advised focusing on the following to leverage the app opportunity:
- Issue archives and cross-issue search wow readers
- Multiple RSS channels extend user engagement
- Video on mobile is natural and welcomed
- Track URL clicks for lead generation
- Bypass the PDF – Don’t replicate, differentiate
Bringing B-to-B Relationships to Mobile Devices
John Squires, managing director of Next Issue Media, continued the mobile theme, sharing how he’s revolutionizing the world of digital editions for media powerhouses like Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corporation and Time Inc., as well as how b-to-b media companies can capitalize on this new revenue stream.
His company, founded four months ago by five major consumer publishers, has four key goals – to create: harmonized, highly-featured digital reading experiences; a branded consumer storefront offering a vast array of quality paid content; innovative digital advertising formats and platforms featuring pioneering measurement tools; and efficient print-to-digital workflow tools and a robust publishing platform to deliver immersive content via multiple devices.
It’s certainly no surprise that the superior photography within digital editions has generated high enthusiasm and reader engagement. Consequently, there are tremendous opportunities for b-to-b media companies to bring their relationships with audiences to mobile devices and start driving new revenues. “We really believe consumers are going to pay for richer, deeper, more convenient experiences,” Squires said.
In fact, in a study of 2,000 consumers, Next Issue Media found that, when prompted to renew, print subscribers showed strong interest in both digital and print offers. In fact, more than half chose to renew with a digital product.
Despite this optimism, Squires warned that there is no reason a publisher must participate on these devices without a proven business model in existence. For one, how will consumer needs be served without disruptive advertising, since the banner ad is not ideal? “It will be interesting to see whether [publishers] can restrain themselves,” Squires joked.
One piece of advice for those wanting to get started now: Although it seems like a simple principle, “you have to build to the machine” and optimize content for the respective screen, he advised.
B-to-B’s Next Generation Navigates Through Rapid Transformation
How will our actions today forecast our future? That’s the question moderator Bill Mickey of Red 7 Media asked to kick off the “Next Generation Panel” on Tuesday morning. The panelists – Chris Crain of Crain Communications, Randall Friedman of Lebhar-Friedman and Greg Watt of WATT – spoke about the cultural and structural changes within their companies, as well as the notion of navigating through rapid industry transformation and the difficulties of remaining agile.
Crain has spent the last decade on corporate growth initiatives in North America, in four areas: digital businesses, events, market research and lead generation. The company has been observant of tested business models, standing on others’ shoulders where applicable. For Friedman, the last 24 months have made his a leaner organization. Lebhar-Friedman has shed some peripheral businesses, but bulked up its marketing and ad management teams at customer touch points. Watt has brought a new dynamic and new energy to his organization, centered on innovation. “We tell our new hires upfront: Your job is going to change in the next 12 months,” he said.
The panelists agreed that print is still the core of many b-to-b media businesses and “capable of weathering on” for many years to come, as Crain believes. Friedman added that publishers need to shed the “Woody Allen complex” and stop talking about the death of print, which he still sees as a must-read for senior executives seeking deep, rich, insightful content.
When asked if their corporate structures would sustain, perhaps Watt put it best: “I don’t think we can stick with anything right now. We have to continue to move with the market forces and adjust accordingly.”
Marketing Services: Solving 'the Great Muddle'
According to chatter around media water coolers lately, magazine publishers are no longer necessarily in the news game – rather, marketing services are opening up a bevy of revenue opportunities. But how do you get started? ABM’s Annual Conference sought to answer that question with a dedicated marketing services panel comprised of John Sequerth, publications manager at UPS; Hanley Wood VP of Corporate Sales and Chair of ABM’s Entrepreneurial Committee Michael Hurley; and Tom Miller, partner at agency Miller Brooks.
Miller drew on his agency experience to advise publishers not to try to be everything to everybody. Each of Miller Brooks’ 24 customers uses multiple firms to create content. Rather than competing with each other – or with customers – evaluate your core strengths and bring them to the collaboration table, he said, adding, “No one owns the customer, the customer is a free agent.”
And at the end of the day, marketing services are about adding value to the client, Miller said. Publishers know audiences better than advertisers, according to Hurley, and are positioned to provide that value, as long as they “stop selling and listen,” he said. Whether it’s the selling assets model, or the audience-and-market-centric model, or something else, ABM’s Entrepreneurial Committee is seeking “the best models to present to members,” said Hurley, who pointed to Meredith Corporation’s 360 division as a winner because it offers a “broad range of services with little to no regard to media (not selling Meredith brands).” In Q1, 360 is already at 50 percent of what the division earned in all of 2009, according to Hurley.
Need more incentive to get involved? Hurley told attendees that marketing services dollars can be twice that of media dollars.
The Entrepreneurial Committee – in working with the ANA and Booz & Company on a study to determine those winning marketing services models – is currently seeking members who have experience in the space to weigh in. Contact Hurley at email@example.com to share your perspective.
Buying Into the B-to-B Opportunity
Why is a consumer media icon buying into the b-to-b space when most might advise him otherwise? Because he (George Green, senior advisor at e5 Global Media and former president/CEO of Hearst Magazines International) is a true believer that “business media has a future.”
During his presentation on “the b-to-b opportunity,” Green discussed his latest venture with e5, the company that recently purchased eight Nielsen Business Media properties, including The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek, BackStage and the Clio Awards, and shared his perspective on growth opportunities and powering venerable brands.
In doing so, Green discussed how the banker’s view of the business differed from his. Cutting back is okay, he believes, but you have to know which aspects of your business are worth reducing and which require further investment, even in a down economy.
e5’s primary focus now is revitalizing and elevating the various brands it has acquired – by finding the right editorial voice, hiring new talent and expanding internationally. Green believes that a brand’s success is dependent on how indispensable it is to the reader, whether in the print form or online.
So far, Green’s “gut” has guided him to remarkable success … Only time will tell if it still is.
Mining the Riches of Decision Data
“Use your central market position to build a data business … If you don't, someone else will!” Such was the bottom-line advise offered by Megan St. John, managing director of InfoCommerce Group, during her interactive workshop on business information.
Why do it? For one, multiples are much higher on data businesses, St. John revealed, and the first to market often owns it.
St. John guided attendees through the applications and challenges of business information, as well as some examples of companies that are mining this important new revenue stream.
Essentially, she shared, people are looking to: locate (buying guides, central catalogs, etc.), buy/sell (lead generation, list services, etc.), evaluate (performance ratings, credit/risk analysis), benchmark (industry benchmarks), and organize (registries and organizational schemes, root datasets). These are the applications that provide endless opportunities for b-to-b media companies.
The salon also showcased some of the hurdles facing those looking to build a data business, like staffing and technology.
St. John featured Hanley Wood’s Market Intelligence, which acts as an opportunity finder for manufacturers and their distributors by pinpointing selling efforts by brand and benchmarking market share, and Accuity’s Payment Efficiency Solutions, which ensures that banking transactions flow to the right place in the fastest possible timeframes with fewer errors, as business information models that are working, while ABM members from ALM, Farm Progress Companies, Randall-Reilly, Vance and WATT, among others, also shared their data success stories.
Think Outside the Box to Generate Revenue
Vital Business Media CEO Prescott Shibles urged Annual Conference attendees to get creative with generating revenue ideas – particularly if those ideas require minimal investment. Rather than agonizing over the “to paywall or not to paywall” dilemma, Shibles offered that publishers might see better results selling research or books compiled of evergreen content based on brand recognition and editorial reputation leveraging existing inventory and user databases.
Those databases can also be fleshed out by creating an inexpensive-to-set-up online research “stores” to not only be a revenue stream, but to collect and append user information. Shibles urged publishers to do a little legwork to collect publicly-accessible data in order to minimize the number of questions asked of users, increasing the likelihood of a response.
Free Web sites such as Compete, Quantcast, Google AdWords, Google’s Insights for Search, and bizo are research tools that can be used to gather this public data and recognize where holes in databases need to be filled with user-targeted questions.
Keeping content free will attract a qualified audience, but that audience is discerning and has a multitude of options, so attain and retain their loyalty through tweaking your site’s design by removing clutter, showcasing valuable content, and making it easy for them to find what they want.
A few tips:
- Orient navigation by topic to promote search engine optimization.
- Aggregate and curate links, and use teaser pages, charts and infographics.
- Employ integrated pan-platform conversion marketing.
- Launch a blog to grow traffic; promote your content on social media.
- Only place ads on correlated article pages.
- Promote research to non-endemic customers via search and by developing affiliates.
- Ask for feedback: Did your customer feel she got her money's worth?
When it comes to choosing a Web designer to clean up your site:
- "Good Web designers are about architecture, as well as aesthetics," said Shibles.
- The upper left side of your Web site is its most valuable real estate, so a designer should work with I.T. to translate the core values of your brand there.
- Look at your site traffic three months before, and three months after, a redesign to judge its effectiveness.
Finally, Shibles suggested the following for incremental revenue growth:
- Use behavioral technology to find display advertising branding opportunities.
- If you have an awards program, sell awards gear, such as trophies and certificates, to all members of a winning team.
- Reuse content via simulcasting, hosting multi-sponsor webcasts, and creating a submission (inspiration) gallery.