At ABM annual: CEO Roundtable extols resiliency of b-to-b media companies

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Austin, Texas—One of the last sessions of American Business Media's 2011 Annual Conference on Tuesday was the “CEO Roundtable,” which featured Tom Kemp, chairman-CEO of Northstar Travel Media; Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence; and Rich Reiff, CEO of Advantage Business Media. Together, the three stressed how business media companies can be effective in offering marketing services. Kemp led off the panel with a fire-and-brimstone defense of b-to-b media's ability to adapt to the changing marketplace. He pointed to business media companies successfully adding events to their portfolios in the 1970s despite doubts voiced by existing exhibition companies. In the 1990s, naysayers said business media companies couldn't adapt to the Internet. “We were told b-to-b could never be successful in the digital world. We didn't have the talent or the structure,” he said. Now, Kemp said, a similar chorus is doubting the ability of media companies to add marketing services to their product offerings. “We're told now that we don't have the talent or the structure to be successful in marketing services,” he said. Kemp, whose Northstar Travel Media just launched a marketing services unit, said, “In fact, we're not as dumb as we look.” He predicted the business media industry as a whole will use marketing services to generate new revenue: “We will leverage our content, out databases, our domain expertise, our customer relationship and our trusted, independent media brands.” Pazour said he saw the move into some marketing services as a natural evolution. “Rather than call it marketing services, I call it the next level of digital media,” he said. Reiff also sees marketing services as part of the value proposition that business media companies have always offered. “Our sole purpose in life is to bring buyer and seller together,” he said.
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