BtoB

Anatomy of a launch

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New products are the lifeblood of any growth-oriented b-to-b media enterprise. At CMP Technology, Kate Spellman, senior VP-corporate marketing, is responsible for identifying new opportunities that allow the company to leverage its strengths across its business units, in contrast to brand extensions or new products that grow out of the individual, market-specific groups.

One of her recent efforts is SmallBizResource.com, an online resource for business information and advice that debuted in March and is geared specifically to the SOHO (small office, home office) market. There are estimated to be 5 million businesses that employ one to nine workers, Spellman said.

"The idea arose from the Channel Group, which noticed that these very small businesses tended to make their technology purchases at retail or online," she said. "This is also where IT spending is really growing, and the channel has been moving to capture more of the SOHO."

Although Spellman wanted the site's content to encompass CMP's core strength--technology--she felt that this market needed other types of information as well, focusing on topics such as finance, legal, management, marketing and sales. "But the business model wasn't going to allow us to go out and hire 24 editors to create all that content," she said.

Instead, CMP's plan involves "partnering with other media companies, which is a somewhat innovative approach for us," Spellman said. One partner is Forbes.com.

"I have five other contracts right now sitting in legal," she said.

SmallBizResource.com does not require registration. Right now, its revenue comes from online advertising, but Spellman plans to add lead generation vehicles. "In surveys, the users say they are looking for training and how-to information, which definitely lend themselves to Webinars," she said.

Because the SOHO decision-maker is notoriously difficult to find, the online marketing plan was critical to the SmallBizResource.com launch. "We've used search engine marketing, buying basic keywords with Google, and Yahoo! and others," Spellman said.

There is a twice weekly e-newsletter called "BizBuz" that offers small-business tips and drives traffic back to the site.

CMP Technology plans to enter the second small-business market, known as SMB (small and midsize business), in the fourth quarter of 2006 or the first quarter of 2007, Spellman said.

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