As the economy bounces back, many b-to-b publishers are expanding their corporate marketing efforts through increased spending, hiring, new ad programs and strategic partnerships.
The move toward increased corporate marketing is being reflected in executive hires. Recently, CMP Media hired a senior VP-marketing; IDG's CXO Media hired its first chief marketing officer; CFO Publishing named a VP-marketing; and Jobson Education Group appointed a senior VP-business development.
Publishers are also launching new advertising and marketing efforts at the brand level. Last year, building and construction media company Hanley Wood launched a major rebranding campaign, and this year, CMP will expand its corporate marketing efforts across many platforms.
"We budget at two levels-at the brand level and at the CMP company level," said Jeff Patterson, exec VP-corporate sales and marketing at CMP. "While our brand budgets will be at the same level they have been, the CMP budget level will increase significantly this year." He declined to comment on the exact marketing budget or the marketing budget as a percentage of sales.
Patterson said one of the factors driving CMP's companywide marketing expansion is a growing trend among advertisers of consolidating their media spending with fewer publishing companies. "Now, more customers are interested in shortening the list of publishing companies with which to do business," Patterson said. "They are concentrating more of their spend on those who can enable them to do a number of different things."
CMP is offering integrated media programs including print advertising, online advertising, events and custom publishing across publications.
To further promote its brand, CMP has formed strategic partnerships, such as sponsoring the Marketing Focus series at Baptie & Co.'s conferences serving senior executives at IT and telecommunications companies, and being the exclusive high-tech sponsor of the CMO Council.
The CMO Council partnership gives CMP the opportunity to get in front of senior marketing executives, such as by hosting private dinners for CMO Council members and moderating sessions at CMO Council events, Patterson said.
CMP will also launch a direct mail campaign this year to promote the company brand.
Forbes has also been pursuing strategic partnerships as part of its corporate marketing efforts, such as partnering with Newsweek on a research section in Scientific American.
"Rather than investing a ton of money to build out [programs], we are looking for partnerships that make sense on a tactical basis," said Jim Berrien, president and publisher of Forbes Magazine Group.
Forbes' marketing budget will be flat in 2005, although the group will be investing in areas such as research, analytics, Web site development and international business, Berrien said.
Hanley Wood has taken several steps to market its corporate brand as a total solution to clients. Last year, it launched a rebranding campaign with the tagline "Ideas to build on."
"The rebranding campaign was designed to bring all the divisions together to present Hanley Wood and market Hanley Wood as a unified team," said Ann Seltz, VP-marketing for Hanley Wood's magazines division.
The company also rolled out a new sales program called the Summit Account program, in which senior executives from Hanley Wood meet with senior executives on the client side to listen to a client's business problems, then present integrated programs across Hanley Wood divisions.
"This has created a partnership with our top-level clients to sell solutions rather than individual products," Seltz said.