While military and security trade titles are boosting editorial to respond to last month’s terrorist attacks, the situation is a lot less cut and dry when it comes to advertising in those markets.
London-based Jane’s Information Group, which publishes 150 military-defense titles, hired 12 new staffers following last month’s terrorist attacks to handle what’s shaping up to be the heaviest volume of military affairs coverage since the Persian Gulf War.
"We’ll be increasing our coverage considerably," said Alfred Rolington, CEO of Jane’s Information Group. "We’ll be reporting what’s going on and providing analysis behind the broad picture."
Three publications will get the lion’s share of the additional editorial: Jane’s Defence Weekly and the monthlies Jane’s Fighting Ships and Jane’s Sentinel. Those titles have a combined circulation of 250,000.
Rolington said an editorial team is being assembled to focus solely on events stemming from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Jane’s will also provide free briefings on its Web sites—information it typically would charge for—to its largest corporate clients, such as IBM Corp., as well as U.S. government clients, primarily the Department of Defense.
Although it’s boosting its editorial staff, Jane’s doesn’t plan to increase its sales staff because it doesn’t expect a strong surge in advertising among defense contractors. "As they did during the Gulf War, defense contractors don’t want to advertise as it relates to conflict," Rolington said.
Defense contractors have just one client to please—the Pentagon—and do not necessarily have to market their products commercially. In a letter distributed Oct. 2 to defense contractors, the Defense Department asked them to exercise caution in their communications efforts during the uncertain period ahead. (See story on Page 1.)
Marketing in high gear
Security companies, on the other hand, are expected to ratchet up their marketing several notches.
"Right now, there is a desire to tighten security at all kinds of companies, but the question is how fast?" said Jon McKenna, executive editor of the biweekly newsletter "Corporate Security." "Companies would rather ‘pull’ product rather than ‘push’ because a lot of companies are finding the push strategy out of keeping with the gravity of the situation."
Bob Disney, a global terrorism expert at the American Society of Industrial Security, which has 33,000 members in 70 countries, said: "Let’s face it: This is a legitimate business and [security companies’] CEOs would not be doing the right thing if they didn’t increase their marketing. But they have to do it in a concerned, businesslike manner."
At ASIS’ annual conference this month in San Antonio, which drew thousands of attendees, the hot topics of discussion were employment screening, closed-circuit cameras, guard services and biometric products that can identify people by their eyes, hands and fingerprints.
Buyers large and small are going to be more sophisticated in the future when purchasing security products, said Bill Zalud, editorial director of Security and Security Distribution & Marketing. Through September 2002, both titles, published by Business News Publishing, will be running special reports on the terrorist attacks and the "lessons learned."
Need for information
"Niche companies will advance their advertising because there’s an extraordinary need among buyers for more information" about security products, Zalud said. "Everybody is reevaluating their security."
Yet security companies "don’t want to come off as ambulance chasers," said Randy Dye, associate publisher at Dallas-based Stevens Publishing. Dye markets the monthlies Security Products, Environmental Protection and Water & Wastewater Products, which have a combined circulation of 222,000. Still, "the fact is that a lot of their products are going to be upgraded and all facets of society—government, business and the home—are going to want these upgrades," he said.
Raymond Kelly, New York City Police Commissioner from 1992 to 1994 and current director-global security and senior managing director for Bear Stearns & Co., said: "It’s really all in the wording. If you have product that’s important to security, you have to show how that product is important without taking advantage of the crisis."