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'Bullish' Light Reading taps Odell to expand sales and marketing

Susan Odell

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Company: Light Reading Communications Network
Location: Framingham, Mass.
Title: VP-sales and marketing
Big move: Former VP-marketing and VP-international at TechTarget comes off a noncompete agreement to join Light Reading
Core responsibilities: Grow both audience and revenues for online media and research offerings, as well as events

Susan Odell joined TechWeb's Light Reading Communications Network in July, stepping into the newly created position of VP-sales and marketing at a company working to expand its reach in the communications sector.

“We're making a lot of investments right now, and we're not waiting for the market to turn to do that,” Odell said. “We'll be there when it does turn. That's important. This is a big growth sector, and it could get a lot bigger for us if we do the right thing.”

The company has the benefit of producing Web properties, research arms, webinars and events focused on a competitive industry that has shown resilience during the global economic downturn.

“It's difficult to stop building networks,” Odell said. “The more people that come online, the more demand there is for the market. You have more entrants into the market, so people are still out there fighting for their share, which always helps on the advertising front.”

New opportunities exist in emerging markets, she said. “The United States and North America are going to continue to grow, but India and China are going to be the hot spots,” she said. The company will produce events in India and China over the next year, and also launched Light Reading Asia in April.

Growth in the U.S. and North America is focused on the cable and mobile markets, she said. “We're putting pressure on those two markets and then making sure we have the right new-product strategy—and making sure the marketing strategy matches up to that product strategy,” Odell said.

That includes the integration of the work done by Light Reading's research and online divisions. “There are products we can come up with on the online side that can feed the research side and give some great sponsorship opportunities to companies,” she said.

Light Reading will also look at new ways to integrate its advertising offerings, with an emphasis on lead generation and the continued development of a quality database.

“We have that now, but you can never take that for granted,” Odell said. “You always want to keep refreshing.” The company acquired the database of competitor RCR Wireless in June and is working to convert that audience to Light Reading's Unstrung Web property as well as related research and events. (RCR Wireless is a now-shuttered publication of Crain Communications Inc., Media Business' parent company.)

Odell will also be helping to assess new channels for Light Reading.

“There are only a couple of ways media companies can grow,” she said. “They either grow by going into new markets or new geographies. I think we need to do both, not just with the online part of the business but with events and research.”

The acquisition last year of the internationally focused Pyramid Research positions the company well for expansion, she said.

“We're bullish on the next year,” Odell said. “It's always good to be in a place where the market dynamic is pushing you forward and you're not trying to fight the winds.”

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