BtoB

Innovation builds total audience

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Listening to the Top Innovators in Business Publishing at our recent annual awards luncheon in New York, I was struck by how many truly bright people still believe strongly in a great future for our industry. Some critics have said we in b-to-b media haven't innovated in recent years and that our business is in a downward spiral that it can't pull out of. But clearly these innovators don't subscribe to that theory. Northstar Travel Media's Tom Kemp, one of our CEO award winners, was quick to acknowledge that many investors are devaluing business media as publishers struggle to change their business models. But marketers will spend again, and across many channels, he said, as the economy recovers and the b-to-b media industry deleverages itself. As Tom pointed out, we are now an audiencecentric business, and the audiences in our well-covered verticals will once again be very profitable. Access Intelligence's Don Pazour, another CEO winner, also emphasized a total audience approach as the path to future success. As Don said, we can ask the audience to pay for some kinds of content and we can deliver real-time leads. He also stressed that we no longer need to create just content, we need to build viable communities. Such communities, he emphasized, will provide many opportunities for growth through face-to-face events. Clearly, we need to keep innovating and focus on the audience and community, not the platform. Then, cyclical growth will bring strong profits once more. Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.
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