Christine Oldenbrook, the director of marketing and e-media at Bobit Business Media, has been with the company for three years after stints at National Underwriters Co. and Primedia Inc.
Media Business: What are the plans for the year?
We'll be trying to use the Web site as much as possible for customer acquisition and retention. That's going to be where we'll be getting the most efficiency. We'll cross-sell there.
MB: How willing are consumers to move online?
If you're helping your readers get through these tough times, they'll move with you. You have to work with your editors to get editorial that you can use as a premium to emphasize what your content does to help your customers' businesses get through this time. That message is in our renewal series, our telemarketing scripts, everything. We know that that will be an asset to them and will help us gain more readers.
MB: Is there such a thing as a new reader right now?
The churn is higher than ever on a lot of files and in a lot of industries. We have to be realistic. If a market is shrinking, we can't kid anyone with blown-up numbers. If this is presented logically, media buyers will accept it as long as whoever is left in your file is high quality.
MB: What are short-term plans?
We are looking at the long term. We don't think short-term. That's the mantra of the company right now. We're applying resources to the Web because that's where the advertisers are going. The migration was happening already but the economy has sped it up. Advertisers are happy with the accountability they're getting there, so we've got to move our audience there as well. We're doing a lot with search, with marketing online, with editorial links in the magazine to the Web site. We're trying to push our readership there because we want the advertisers to get as much value as they can.
MB: Are you considering digital editions?
We are considering it and are likely to go there at some point, but we've got great Web sites already. To go there, publishers need to justify the expense. It has to be sold, and the technology needs to be used effectively. If you're doing it to cut your print costs, don't bother. It'll only migrate so much. They have value for being scannable by search engines and for being a new product to sell that can bring sponsorship dollars in as well. But it costs money, and not many publishers want to add costs right now. M