Even with the acquisition yet to be finalized, major changes are under way, including a recently announced reorganization of the Journal's advertising sales organization. The restructuring combined the print Journal, Wall Street Journal Digital Network (including Barron's Online, MarketWatch.com and WSJ.com) and the international sales and marketing staffs into a single entity.
Rooney recently spoke with BtoB about how he intends to boost advertising throughout Dow Jones, the benefits of the restructuring and other items on his agenda.
BtoB: How will the recent reorganization of ad sales operations affect the dynamics of selling The Wall Street Journal brand and related Dow Jones properties, such as Barron's?
Rooney: First and foremost, it allows our clients to work with the franchise across platforms in a seamless way. Not every client wants that, but more and more of them do as they look for unique opportunities. It also gives clients access across all of our platforms, which doesn't exist when you're siloed. We still have print salespeople and online salespeople, but they sit on a team with a multimedia manager and a multimedia marketing department. Any way our clients want to buy, we're prepared to do that.
BtoB: How much of the change is focused on crafting more integrated ad packaging? Is there a big appetite for such ad buys?
Rooney: There's a huge appetite. We are constantly challenged with coming up with the big idea that's never been done before, across our channels, to reach our audience. When [advertisers] buy multiple platforms they see more value, which pleases our clients. It's the same as it was at ESPN. People want to touch this brand. And the re-org allows them to get closer to it.
BtoB: Which advertising categories do you see as most amenable to integrated ad buys?
Rooney: Both b-to-b and b-to-c advertisers see the value of this audience. The financial category is taking advantage [of the restructuring]. Technology has, too. I think everybody is seeing the value. What works here is not bundling but the idea, and that's what we stress. When integration first started, people said there was opportunity to bundle and get discounts, but that's not what this about. It's about answering their questions, and solving their problems and bringing the platforms together to do that.
BtoB: What is your b-to-b advertising strategy in terms of bringing into the fold more niche marketers as opposed to the Microsofts and Ciscos?
Rooney: The expectations, especially in the b-to-b category, of meeting a Wall Street Journal ad rep are extremely high in terms of the knowledge of the business and business decision-makers. So we're going to use research to provide insights into what trends are occurring in the business world with the current and next generations of decision-makers. That's going to allow advertisers to send a message that's meaningful and has an impact. We need to create value so clients will say, "I need to spend my money here because these guys understand my customer." You do that not just by telling them about your readers but what's going on in the marketplace.
BtoB: Dow Jones recently announced plans to launch a Wall Street Journal glossy magazine in 2008. Will it have content that appeals to b-to-b buyers or will it be more focused on luxury markets?
Rooney: It's going to be a weekend product so you have to think about how it follows [that sort of content]. I don't see why a b-to-b advertiser wouldn't be interested in reaching that reader when he's in a little more of a relaxed mode. That could be pretty effective. And we will certainly be calling on [b-to-b advertisers] to tell them that story
BtoB: How do you think News Corp.'s ownership of Dow Jones will affect the company's ad sales culture?
Rooney: It's going to be wonderful. [News Corp.] has so many different businesses. I've been impressed with the people I've met there and their ability to recruit, build bench and promote from within. … The nice thing about the deal is that we'll have the resources of a much bigger company than Dow Jones has on its own.