Horowitz in April to lead e-media initiatives, bringing the Reed Business Information veteran onboard as the company continues to invest in its digital portfolio. The new VP-e-media has taken a fact-based approach that will see not only the launch of new products but also an overhaul of the way the company prices and sells its advertisements.
“I’m really focused on continuing to widen the gap between Vance and its competitors, to look at what everybody wants and make sure we are logically providing it,” Horowitz said. “We have a lot of different ideas, and we want to test them. Everything has to be driven by the facts.”
One of his first moves centered on the hire of an analyst to collect data about the performance of the company’s products from both the audience and advertiser perspectives.
“We’ve traditionally been doing analytics, but it’s becoming more part of our discussion now, a driver of what products we’re doing and how we’re doing them,” he said.
The company will adopt performance-based pricing, while also developing metrics to support its ad vehicles. Product development will focus on the establishment of habitual, brandrelevant user experiences and the growth of audience involvement and engagement, he said. The company is currently testing new Web education initiatives and lead-generation opportunities, as well as looking at the presentation of content and advertisements, Horowitz said.
Existing channels of audience feedback will augment metrics-based analysis and allow the company to make informed decisions as it moves digital initiatives forward, he said. The diverse verticals the company inhabits—agriculture, beauty and woodworking—mean that many decisions will need to be made on a market-by-market basis.
“The starting point has to be the audience,” he said.
Horowitz expects to see digital revenues grow.
“We’re seeing more and more website interest and not just banner ads, though that’s actually going up, but interesting sponsorship ideas to really align brands with content,” he said. “The e-newsletters continue to perform really well, and we’re doing more e-newsletters based on individual need as opposed to a large base of subscribers. We’re seeing a lot of growth in that area.”
The company has also launched mobile marketing initiatives, including a text messaging service in the protein division that sends alerts about commodity pricing throughout the day. Across verticals, the company has made its websites and print issues accessible by mobile phone, Horowitz said.
“Everyone loves the out-front sex appeal of mobile, but then sometimes the numbers are really low,” he said. “You’re doing something really cool for 200 people. We’re testing things to get experience with it, and then we’ll hear more from the ad community. We want to make sure we understand the financials on it.”
Horowitz expects to see digital initiatives progress quickly once testing has been completed, not only because the company’s CEO has been a vocal advocate for digital expansion but because the company has been committed to finding the right platform to serve its audiences.
“There’s been a historic effort to make all of the access platforms engaged in all of the different areas,” Horowitz said “This is just taking the strategy already in place and the commitment and just executing it based on changes in media.”