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CFOs in the tech marketing bull's-eye

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CFO Publishing earlier this month acquired London-based Innovation Enterprise Group, a producer of conferences for senior finance executives. With the acquisition, CFO Publishing said the number of its conferences this year will increase from last year's six to about 40. CFO Publishing, which publishes CFO, is built around the idea that b-to-b marketers want to reach CFOs and other top finance executives, who wield an increasing amount of influence over corporate purchases of all stripes, particularly in information technology. “Their level of importance has just continued to grow,” said Alan Glass, CEO of CFO Publishing. “That was a big reason for us buying CFO [in January 2010] in the first place.” Last year, CFO Publishing commissioned research underlining the power of the senior finance team in purchasing decisions. The research, which was conducted by Martin Akel & Associates, polled about 570 members of CFO Publishing's audience online. The survey found that 93% of the respondents said their company planned to make IT investments in the coming 12 months. Additionally, 74% said that the finance team at their organization was either “more active” or “much more active” in spending decisions than in the previous year. With CFOs and other finance executives becoming more involved in purchasing decisions, other media companies are not ceding the CFO audience to CFO Publishing. International Data Group and Dow Jones & Co. are two that have recently launched CFO-oriented brands. IDG debuted its CFOWorld brand in Germany in 2010 and has recently expanded it in the U.S. with websites, blogs and newsletters. The company plans to introduce targeted face-to-face events this year. CFOWorld research indicated a high level of involvement by CFOs in IT purchases. Eighty seven percent of CFOs are involved in the technology/consulting purchase process, according to CFOWorld research from 2010. Additionally, 43% of IT departments report to the CFO. The study was conducted online in December 2010 and had 180 respondents. “In tighter economics times, like we are in now, businesses are far more conservative with their investments and, as a result, CFOs find their influence growing significantly,” said Bob Bragdon, publisher of CFOWorld. “This is consistent across much of the research that we do: In tighter economic times, purchasing authority gets pushed up the corporate ladder.” Dow Jones launched CFO Journal last May. Alisa Bowen, general manager of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, said Dow Jones' offers two ways to precisely target finance executives: via the CFO Journal website, newsletter and face-to-face events and also through Dow Jones' digital brands, such as AllThingsD.com, Barrons.com, Marketwatch.com and WSJ.com. Bowen said CFO Journal includes original and curated content. It also allows marketers to add in their own custom content aimed at CFOs. For example, Bowen said, Deloitte uses the CFO Journal brand to deliver “thought leadership” content to a senior finance executive audience.
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