Matt Avery is surprised by how much he enjoys one of the fringe benefits of his new job at IDG's CXO Media.
For the first time in 12 years, he doesn't have to get on a plane to see his own team or meet with executives--they are only an hour drive away from his home.
"You can get things done so much quicker," said Avery, who recently joined the company after serving as publisher of Optimize and associate publisher of Information Week , both CMP Technology titles. "I'm not suggesting you can't be productive with that [other] type of environment. But I don't think enough credit is given when all the stakeholders are in one area to create a product to fulfill a need."
With his new title of VP-integrated media, Avery's charge is to continue to broaden the reach of customized content for CXO, whose CIO, CSO and Darwin properties serve the information technology and security markets. With all competitors already offering blogs, daily webcasts, RSS feeds and microsites, Avery thinks the sheer size of IDG, its stable of brands and its scope will separate its custom content efforts from the pack.
"When I was at CMP, it was really a one-brand company, Information Week ," he said. "When you sit down with the HPs and the IBMs of the world, they really want to tune in to multiple brands."
He plans to leverage the brand by promoting the existence of the 2-year-old CIO Executive Council, a group organized in April 2004 that has grown to more than 400 members who network and address industry issues. The best source of information for CIOs is their peers, Avery said, so he plans to tap into the council for executive summaries, case studies, white papers and interviews.
"The vendor community is really embracing peer-generated research projects," Avery said. "It's the objectivity. The CIO at company X is going to be able to share some of the scars this person went through on a particular deployment.
"I don't know of any brand that has been able to produce a membership council at the C-level, paying five figures to be part of the council," he added. "That is incredibly telling about the strength of the brand."
While IDG no longer owns the CSO Executive Council, Avery said, the possibility of tapping into its expertise in a similar fashion remains.
Avery also sees opportunities in contract publishing, digital magazines and custom microsites. He points to IDG's recent work for Hewlett-Packard Co. as the direction in which to head. IDG and CIO helped HP produce an interactive webcast series called "Change Artists" that features unscripted discussions between CEOs and CIOs. The first 30-minute moderated discussion, which ran May 9 and featured FedEx Corp. CEO Frederick Smith, drew more than 5,000 viewers from 63 countries.
In a sense, in moving to IDG, Avery feels he's been let "behind the curtain" and numerous opportunities lie ahead. "Stay tuned," he said. "There'll be more to come."