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ABM panel says business publishers have to jump start mobile efforts

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New York—Business publishers need to take a more hands-on approach regarding how their customers use handheld devices and the kind of information they want to receive on such devices if they are to capitalize on the explosive growth in mobile media, according to panelists who spoke Tuesday at American Business Media’s B-to-B Meets Mobile Media event.

The purpose of the event was to tackle some of the more cost-effective ways that business publishers and their advertisers can tap into mobile media. While widespread adoption of mobile media will take some time, business publishers can ill afford to sit on the sidelines as the market expands, the panelists said.

“You need to find out what kind of research people are doing with [handheld devices] and determine what kind of b-to-b information you can supply,” said Shane Molloy, director of circulation at ALM, a b-to-b media company targeting business and legal professionals.

Cimarron Buser, VP-marketing and product planning at Texterity, which creates and distributes digital publications, said mobile devices can be used to keep customers abreast of new developments. “It could be a tool to drive subscriptions or a way to tell users, ‘Here’s some interesting content that you could take a look at on your desktop or in a hard copy.’ ”

Buser added: “For advertisers, it could be putting a phone number in an ad [that runs on a mobile device] or a reminder about an event that can automatically go to the user’s calendar.”

Robert Carney, senior director of business development at FAST, an online search firm, said that, while the market is still in the nascent stage, business publishers have to start investing in it now. “It’s part of the ongoing expectations of customers who [increasingly] want to get information whenever they want and on whatever device they have,” he said.

—Matthew Schwartz

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