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The idea that transformed Hoyt Publishing

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Twenty years after founding Hoyt Publishing, Peter Hoyt took his name off the door—even though he still owns the company and it’s larger and healthier than ever before. Due to the success of the In-Store Marketing Institute, a membership-based association Hoyt launched in 2003, the entire company has taken the group’s name.

This change became effective last month at the same time that Hoyt Publishing’s first magazine, P-O-P Times, took a new name of its own, Shopper Marketing.

The seeds of the corporate name change were sown in the early years of the decade when Hoyt decided to diversify his small b-to-b publishing company. “We decided to explore two ideas,” he said. “One was to expand in home furnishings, where we were doing some custom publishing, and we launched Home Decor Buyer in 2000. The other—and we saw it as the riskier idea at the time—was to become an industry association.”

Hoyt Publishing was formed in February 1988 and introduced P-O-P Times later that year. In 1992, the company debuted its first new product, a small trade show for the producers of point-of-purchase (P-O-P) displays and the companies that sell them the components for those displays. In 1994, Hoyt started P-O-P Design, a bimonthly, and increased the frequency of P-O-P Times from six to 10 times per year. That magazine is now monthly. Since 1999, Hoyt has been running two major trade shows each year, in New York and Chicago.

The In-Store Marketing Institute was formed in 2003 partly because Hoyt wanted to get more growth out of his industry relationships and partly because the Web was becoming an increasingly important force. “I didn’t think we could make enough just selling banner ads. We needed a better business model for online,” Hoyt said.

“The institute grew out of us wanting to sell subscriptions to get to data,” he explained. The Internet was also the ideal vehicle for allowing members to access the massive database of educational materials and research that the institute has been amassing at www.instoremarketer.org.

“The institute really caught on and developed into something much bigger than I thought it would be,” Hoyt said. “It has provided millions of dollars in new revenue and profit. Our net operating profit went from 7% in 2006 to 19% in 2008, and we keep reinvesting that yield to further serve the industry.” This year, Hoyt expects revenue to come in at around $10 million.

“The corporate name change means we are now concentrating our full attention on the institute,” Hoyt said. “Putting aside my ego was the hardest part. In the end, I couldn’t give it up completely. The name Hoyt Publishing, now an LLC, is registered as a corporation in Illinois, but it has no assets and is completely divorced from the institute.”

One business that once fell under the Hoyt Publishing umbrella has been dropped. Home Decor Buyer was shuttered after its July 2008 issue. “Everything else we do—research, conferences, webinars, face-to-face events, a huge awards competition and an annual industry fundraiser to fight breast cancer, which has donated $1.3 million in 12 years—was related to our in-store marketing franchise. They are now all considered to be products and services of the institute,” Hoyt said.

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