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Astromoff leading rapid growth

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Kathy Astromoff joined UBM Electronics as CEO earlier this month to broaden its service and merchandising efforts. She previously oversaw the international expansion of the Game Developers Conference in Europe and China, as well as UBM TechWeb's acquisition of the Online Marketing Summit. Astromoff, who also led product planning and execution in her former role as exec VP of UBM TechWeb, said she will take a more hands-off approach as CEO and concentrate on corporate strategy. “I make sure everything we're doing really aligns with the strategic direction for how we serve our community and that we quickly make decisions in taking things out of the portfolio that aren't aligning with that vision,” Astromoff said. Astromoff envisions a fruitful 2012 for UBM Electronics. Her goals include a 16% increase in revenue, even though UBM's customers expect the electronics market to grow only 8% this year. “Given the market share that we have, I would expect us to vastly exceed that growth rate. Preferably, I'd like to set a big, hairy audacious goal of doubling that,” she said. To start, the company is expanding its development of content, websites and promotional materials with its recent custom-marketing programs for large clients. One such example is Avnet Express' award-winning “Drive for Innovation” (in which Brian Fuller, editorial director of EE Times, took a year-long cross-country road trip in a Chevrolet Volt to highlight electronics innovation in the U.S.). Another is UBM's recent partnership with RapidBuyr, a b-to-b daily deals site for small and midsize businesses, offering daily deals and engineering equipment (from targeted products such as oscilloscopes to general-interest items like laptops and GPS services) to UBM's audience. From there, UBM Electronics will home in on developing more creative turnkey services for small and midsize businesses, Astromoff said. “Right now, we are working on more scalable solutions for customers who might not have the budget of a [Texas Instruments] but need just as much help as TI does in attracting those customers,” she said. The company will also focus on providing marketing services to deepen customer engagement and facilitate professional connections, as engineers increasingly turn to their peers on social networking sites for information. Last month, UBM Electronics launched its Community Activation Platform to create targeted online communities that generate conversations, sales leads and market research within social networking sites. “You're not just throwing a question out on Twitter [for] some random dude to respond,” Astromoff said. “You're throwing a question into a community of people who you know are qualified to answer.” The company will also explore new ways to sell engineering equipment to its audience. “If we're going to be the best provider of business-critical information and services to electronics engineers, why not also [supply] the best tools and solutions,” Astromoff said. “[But] we don't want to get into the electronics distribution business. We have very good partners in that area that we're not interested in alienating. On the other hand, we do have good relationships with our audience and engineers who want that kind of solution from us.”
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