E-News : November 16, 2010
Special Executive Forum Edition
Bulking Up to Go Mobile: FREE WEBINAR TOMORROW!
Tomorrow, November 17, from 11:00am – 12:00pm ET, ABM's Digital Media Council will continue its webinar series dedicated to the challenges and opportunities that the mobile landscape poses for b-to-b media companies.
This next installment will address "The How" – resources and organizational considerations required to create and distribute valuable information cross-platform.
- Which workflow processes are needed to feed content to magazines, websites, phones and tablets? Can the same be used for print and online?
- What are the technology implications? Do you use internal or outsourced technology and/or app solution providers?
Learn the answers to these questions (and more!) on November 17, from experts including Michael Bennett (ALM), Mark Heimberg (PennWell), Jim Sulecki (Meister Media Worldwide) and Jill Windwer (ALM).
Enter the Neal Awards Today!
December 3rd is right around the corner ... That means your submissions for this year's Neal Awards are almost ready, right?
Don't procrastinate - Submit your best editorial work now for the chance to be honored with one of the b-to-b industry's most prestigious honors.
Business Information Council
Tomorrow, November 17, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Thursday, November 18, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM ET
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Economist Delivers Global Predictions
ABM members converged in Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) for the 2010 Executive Forum to discuss the state of the industry and best practices – both short-term and long-term – going forward. The conference kicked off on November 8th with an overview of the global economy from IHS Global Insight Inc. Founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph E. Kasputys.
Key takeaways from Dr. Kasputys' presentation that could impact business audiences include:
- The U.S. economy is currently tied up in exports, so an understanding of the interconnectedness of the global economy is important for business media, which fuels business growth.
- World economic growth for 2010 is projected to be at 3.3 percent.
- Developing countries (e.g. India, China) have continued to grow throughout the Great Recession.
- While U.S. unemployment is at about 9.6 percent, U.S. economic recovery is at about 2 percent.
- U.S. businesses are spending on equipment and services, which is boosting economic growth. (U.S. businesses have also "trimmed the fat" in response to the recession and are now lean and poised for profit.)
- While American consumers have been encouraged to save, "an epidemic of U.S. thrift is holding back [economic] recovery."
- There has "never been more cash in corporate coffers as there is today," according to Dr. Kasputys. Business media needs to encourage corporations to spend.
- The Federal funds rate will be at near zero until 2012.
- QEII is not a significant factor in growth, but a deflation hedge.
- Expect to pay more taxes in 2013, and fiscal consolidation is inevitable, Dr. Kasputys predicted.
- He went on to predict that "if China goes bust, [the U.S.] could have a double-dip recession."
- Diversification in global investment is important since "the emerging world is not without risk."
- Finally, Dr. Kasputys warned that the coming decade will not be as "fun" as the 1990s and early 2000s.
Members Advised to Focus on Reinvention in Face of Change
Search user behavior expert and president, CEO, and co-founder of Enquiro Gord Hotchkiss kicked off Tuesday’s Executive Forum agenda with a keynote that encouraged attendees to face a changing industry with reinvention through technology. Technology allows human behavior to change, and publishers can use it to connect with an audience in new ways, to make work easier for them, or to capture their participation.
Technology also drives rapid developments in sales models, communications and marketplaces, including the time it takes e-businesses to mature, which is becoming vastly more compact.
“Current Internet time is driven by economic change opportunities,” Hotchkiss said. It took GE around 1,500 months to break into e-business with market capitalization of $170 billion, according to Hotchkiss. Facebook, on the other hand, only took 75 months with $33 billion market cap.
This rapidly-changing environment is also conducive to disruptive forces – products or services that appeal to a subset of customers who are satisfied with inferior products in exchange for a convenience or novelty. Hotchkiss advised attendees to utilize emerging technologies in understanding and competing with disruptive forces. Later in the day, Rich Gordon, Director of Digital Innovation at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, expounded on this theme of dealing with “digital disruption” with technological innovation.
For example, social media is a digital disruption to online media outlets, but can be managed through software. Gordon advised members to think of how social and mobile media are going to be disruptors, and focus on solving that.
Another game-changer in today’s marketplace is the evening out of information asymmetry. Hotchkiss explained that in previous models, the seller often had more information than the buyer. Now, any buyer has the technology to access information. Businesses such as manufacturers are going to need guidance to let go of old business models, offer transparency and communicate with the marketplace in order to fully understand the current landscape.
Cisco Exec Delivers Innovative Social Media Tips, Tactics
ABM President and CEO Clark Pettit and his team approached this year’s Executive Forum with an eye toward offering more tangible solutions and substantive information. To do this, and with an overarching theme of embracing innovation and looking forward for new ideas, ABM brought in thought leaders from other sectors for a fresh perspective.
For example, Cisco Systems Senior Director of Worldwide Service Provider Marketing Doug Webster presented attendees with a case study of how Cisco used social media back in 2008 to create a cool factor for its ASR 1000 edge router, as well as a cult following. Cisco engaged potential customers using the three Vs: virtual, viral, and visual. A SecondLife campus was created, as were quirky, viral-esque ad spots and video testimonials that were posted not only to YouTube, but also to portals created in-house. Rather than going the route of the traditional press release, Cisco sent a social media release that quickly gained momentum (the product’s Facebook fan page achieved 1,000 fans in the campaign’s first two weeks).
In order to appeal to “geek culture,” Cisco also developed a video game, as well as a widget that audiences could use to consolidate all of these offerings. Important to note: Cisco never rested on its laurels despite continued success throughout the campaign. It recognized which aspects were not working and quickly cut the fat (the SecondLife campus was discarded).
This resulted in the campaign reaching about 9,000 people in 120 countries on a fraction of Cisco’s budget for its last large campaign previous to this.
In order to “fish where the fish are” (on social networks), Webster advised:
- Be approachable, make jokes, and participate
- Leverage new ways to break through to a “cynical audience” by taking risks
- Be okay with failing; shed under-performing facets immediately
- Continuously test
- Emphasize UGC – let others market for you and aggregate that (Cisco reached out to “mommy bloggers” and received tremendous feedback, according to Webster)
- If you go to a “social media expert” or agency, beware of hidden costs – this is a relatively new arena and best practices have yet to be firmly established
- Create a dedicated in-house social media team to monitor and respond to audience engagement
Managing B-to-B’s Next Generations as Audiences, Employees
Among the game-changing factors affecting ABM members and their audiences is the generation gap. Chuck Underwood, founder and principal of The Generational Imperative, spoke to members at the Executive Forum about generational dynamics in b-to-b, as well as how to bridge those gaps.
The two generations that members can look forward to cultivating as audiences and customers, and managing as employees, are Generation X (generally born between the late 60s and late 70s) and Millennials (born around 1982 until the mid-90s and likely to have entered your companies already).
According to Underwood, generational values influence life-long decision making in daily business life in the American marketplace, and members should understand how this filters every aspect of reaching audiences. Publishers should identify a generation they wish to target and craft messaging to resonate with that generation. Here are the Gen X and Millennial generations in a nutshell:
Gen X enjoyed the most materially comfortable, but endured the most emotionally difficult, childhood. This generation is largely the product of divorced, working parents, is highly individualistic, creative and mistrustful of authority. According to Underwood, publishers targeting this generation should focus on building trust. Give Gen Xers a stake in a product by implementing their suggestions; offer them educational content, address their work/life balance needs and offer them insight from their successful, savvy peers.
Millennials are the most adult-supervised generation of kids in American history, so they have a core value of gratitude toward their elders, which should influence targeting, according to Underwood. They want to hear wisdom from seasoned business minds. They are also the most medicated, optimistic and community-oriented. They are focused on education and opportunities because they know they have stiff competition in each other.
According to a Pew study, 81 percent of first wave Millennials want to be rich and famous. Tap into this by giving them opportunities for fame through your publication, website and events. Help them to achieve their big vision and engage their optimism with work/life skills training, and involve their parents in your content, because their parents are still a big part of their lives.
In dealing with both of these generations, use crowd sourcing to keep current on technology, and use it to give them a sense of ownership in your product. Maintain communities and incorporate generation-specific buckets on your websites openly using generational jargon, advises Underwood. And be sure to gather and showcase their suggestions and opinions.
‘Six Ideas in 60 Minutes’ Extended to Executive Forum
eMediaVitals.com CEO Prescott Shibles’ ‘Six Ideas in 60 Minutes’ series has been a hit at ABM’s Annual Conference for years, and in 2010, the session was extended to the Executive Forum by popular demand.
As ABM Chairman Charlie McCurdy said of Shibles’ six ideas at the session’s end, “If it’s a new idea for you or it’s something you’re already working on that gives you greater confidence in executing on it, you can get a multiple return on your ABM dues just by doing that one thing.”
Here are Shibles’ six ideas focused on adapting to the current paradigm shift, enriching relationships with readers, attacking the issue of marketer disintermediation, cultivating an agile environment, and leveraging technology without breaking the bank:
- Social sign-on. “Use social networks to increase the quantity of registered users to your brand and the quality of behavioral data you have on users.”
- Mobile offerings. “Tie in mobile offerings to your audience database.”
- QR codes. “Use QR codes to enable print lead generation, ad effectiveness analysis, and gather more information on your audience.”
- Loyalty marketing. “Use loyalty marketing to encourage users to comment, register for white papers, save content, etc., which gives you more behavioral data.”
- On-site behavioral training. “Use behavioral advertising to increase CTRs, CPMs and the percentage of inventory sold.”
- Behavioral ad network. “Create a behavioral ad network to bring scale to your online business and improve margins.”
(For Shibles’ full presentation deck, click here.)
ABM Members Weigh In on Association Performance, Expectations
ABM’s new President and CEO Clark Pettit recently hit the road for a nation-wide Listening Tour, during which he met with member executives to learn about their challenges and opportunities as well as what they expect from ABM in the year ahead. Those industry insiders made suggestions including, more segmentation to events and increased opportunities for topic-by-topic interaction during board meetings.
In keeping with the Forum’s theme of innovation, embracing technology and audience engagement, Pettit led an interactive session during which he asked attendees to weigh in on key areas of concentration for the industry and the association using electronic voting devices. Live results were displayed to the audience.
Here are some of the findings:
- 33% of 2010 Executive Forum attendees are very interested in ABM helping them to determine which platforms are most relevant to their audiences and how they would use them.
- More than 71% of attendees want to concentrate on learning ways to monetize each platform.
- The majority of attendees want to learn how to get going quickly on leveraging platform diversity, how to measure success, and how to scale toward a long-term solution.
- Most attendees are not interested in ABM helping them to understand the investment and private equity process, as they typically hire advisers for that role.
ABM will be addressing these important issues, so stay tuned to E-news and other ABM communications for updates.
SAVE THE DATE:
ABM's 2011 Annual Conference
May 1-4, 2011
Click here to view video from the conference, provided by TV Worldwide.
Editorial coverage by Naomi Reiter
Photos by Rohanna Mertens