Focusing financial resources on the ‘brand,’ not the medium

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B-to-b media and marketing veteran Tony Uphoff was named president of CMP Technology's Business Technology Group in October 2006. The group's portfolio includes some of the technology publisher's most popular brands, including flagship InformationWeek, TechWeb Network and Interop, one of North America's largest IT events. He talked to Media Business about budgeting trends and the effect of CMP's recently announced restructuring on the company's marketing strategy.

MB: Where are your overall investments headed in 2008 in terms of print, online and events?

Uphoff: We're very focused on expanding online and events, and are investing in both platforms. With our restructuring we have more people working on online and events across all functions. We're also investing in print but in a "one-brand" strategy, with people producing more content across online, events and print than we had before. We have a reorganized product strategy to match the right product with the right audience and have redeployed our resources so we can give our customers scale.

MB: Which specific areas of technology are you investing in? Where are the best opportunities?

Uphoff: We're specifically investing in software development because database technology is an important part of our business. We also want to develop, either by building or partnering, various new technologies. We're expanding online video, RSS feed and lead-generation capabilities, and all of those things are fueled by technology applications.

MB: Are you purely investing in print anymore or are print investments tied to other platforms?

Uphoff: We're making broad investments, and they'll manifest themselves on particular platforms. In the case of InformationWeek, we have both the content and the sales sides managing both online and print. We don't specifically break out print investment but rather look at that particular investment in the context of a brand and a network.

MB: How crucial is investing in databases?

Uphoff: We've made a significant investment in our database strategy. Our CORE system [a proprietary database] has enabled us to look across all of the databases in our group and look at the relationship among the various databases. We need to understand the customer who, for example, reads one of our print products but also attends one of our events, so we can better serve that customer in terms of ad packages and contextual advertising.

MB: How much will recent postal hikes affect your budgeting?

Uphoff: We anticipated the increase and factored that into our budget. But we have been lucky in that the financial impact hasn't been that bad and we may have even overestimated the hikes.

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