BtoB

No. 4 Forbes

By Published on .

Reprints Reprints

Reaching top executives is "one of the most difficult challenges b-to-b marketers have because there are so many human and technological filters," said Rick Segal, CEO of b-to-b ad agency HSR Business to Business. To get past those filters, he recommends clients use Forbes.com, which he calls "the closest thing to a beeline to the C-suite."

Forbes.com in March attracted more than 1 million senior management executives, according to Nielsen Net Ratings. The site's overall U.S. audience is 9.4 million, while the global audience exceeds 15 million.

Forbes.com, a perennial in the Media Power 50, continues to provide a powerful brand for online marketers by drilling down into an assortment of vertical markets and offering "venues within venues," Segal said.

For example, in 2005, the site launched three new sections, Entrepreneurs, Logistics and Digital Entertainment, and one new channel, Opinions. Last May, it launched ForbesAutos.com, a standalone site for luxury automobile enthusiasts that is being followed up later this year with Forbes- Travel.com, a site dedicated to the luxury travel market.

But Forbes.com, which constantly takes pains to distinguish itself from the Forbes print brand, doesn't paint itself solely into the lucrative corner of the marketplace.

"We continue to innovate and give people reasons to spend more time with the site, because that's what our competitors are doing," said Jim Spanfeller, president-CEO of Forbes.com.

Last month saw the launch of Forbes.com's "Business in the Beltway" and "RealClearPolitics," which offer updated political news from the nation's capital.

The site has also started a series of special reports that home in on one subject. So far, it has published special reports on communicating, energy and money.

Spanfeller recently hired veteran journalist Jim Brady to chime in with his sharp opinions and expanded Forbes.com's editorial staff in Europe. He's also eager to open other foreign bureaus.

Readers have responded to the various changes, with Forbes.com claiming that traffic has increased more than 100% in each of the past four years.

But Spanfeller doesn't take any eyeballs for granted. He pointed to last year's launch of the Attache tool, which feeds user-customized information to the often unused right side of the Forbes.com home page. "The idea of keeping someone artificially on your site is bad for the brand," he said. "The consumer is in control. Once you realize you're not in control, you can turn it to the brand's advantage."

Segal said part of the site's dynamic is that Forbes publishing execs can see well beyond the Web horizon. "There's an incredible degree of confidence in the model, and they have demonstrated a vision of where they want to take it," he said. "Every time I talk with them, they get it and get where it's all going."

In this article:
Most Popular