BtoB

It feels more like 10 years at the amusement park

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You have been with us on this roller coaster the past five years. I don't need to tell you that this has been a time of rapid change, uncertainty and ups and downs in b-to-b marketing and media. But what really strikes me about this period is how it has brought us to a new time of extraordinary opportunities to market in new and creative ways.

I am extremely proud of the way we have covered the changes in your world for the past five years, sticking to our job of covering b-to-b marketing as if nothing else mattered. There is no question that we produced far and away the best coverage of b-to-b marketing, direct, advertising, Internet and media found anywhere. We have done it in print, in e-mail and online, and at our NetMarketing Breakfast events.

When BtoB was launched in 2000 (a relaunch of Business Marketing , a magazine whose roots go back to 1916), our business took off like a rocket. Then, like all b-to-b media, it slowed in 2001. But unlike a number of media, marketing and Internet titles, we survived and are going strong.

In case you wonder how we are doing as a business at BtoB, our roller coaster is riding high, recovering from the bursting of the bubble with several years of 30% ad growth, and with a great 2005 bottom line for the first six months, way ahead of plan. Thanks to our fine editorial staff, led by Editor Ellis Booker, our sales and marketing team, led by Advertising Director David Bernstein, and you, our readers and advertisers, BtoB , "The Magazine for Marketing Strategists," is a big success.

While a lot has changed, one thing that hasn't is the importance of b-to-b marketing and media. Happily, our industry is rebounding in most sectors. And interactive, which has been central to our mission since we launched, is rapidly rising in importance again.

What's next?

With b-to-b experiencing a resurgence, completely untied to the Internet NASDAQ darling e-marketplaces that came to symbolize b-to-b in 2000, all of us have a chance to make things happen in new ways, with expanded budgets and real work to be done.

Marketers have many new channels and database marketing tools, measurement technologies and new interactive technologies to play with; it has made marketing more fun again.

What do I predict for the future? More and more Internet-based marketing platforms, deeply vertical search engines, the return of brand building, the emergence of guerrilla marketing techniques in b-to-b, a new explosion of strong creative and a continuing move toward multichannel integration. Meanwhile, media companies, such as our own, will use online video for newscasts and events, and provide more niche products in print and online, as well as more database integration of our total audience for advertisers.

We look forward to serving you for the next five years, and in 2010 we'll have another look back. In the meantime, may your roller coaster keep picking up speed, too! M

Bob Felsenthal is publisher of BtoB and BtoB's Media Business. He can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.

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