Startup prepares to meet needs of maturing industry
Former group VP of CMP Media's Light Reading Communications Group returns to startup environment
To build the leading b-to-b media company in the green technology market
John Keough is no stranger to a startup environment.
He helped build Light Reading into the company acquired in 2005 by CMP, rising to become group vice president—valuable experience for the man who has taken the role of VP-sales at the not-quite two-year-old Greentech Media.
He plans to create a powerhouse brand in the business-to-business green technology industry, helping grow the company's online, face-to-face and research revenues.
The biggest challenges: Determining the direction of an industry glutted with startups, and helping companies with little marketing experience understand the value of his media products.
“You've got to comb through a lot of companies and aggressively sell,” Keough said. “They need to understand what a service can do for them. Some companies don't know how to use the tools.”
Green technology companies now are focused on helping customers understand their products, drawing revenue to educational services like events and research, Keough said. But as the market matures—something he predicts could come within the next year—its needs will shift. Leading players will begin to focus on creating a competitive brand, driving demand for a broader array of Greentech services.
“I'm lining up products to make sure we can deliver,” Keough said. “The company has been very driven by content needs. I bring an understanding of where the market demand and market dollars are headed.”
The Greentech Web site delivers content across a broad swath of green technologies, including diverse categories like solar and wind energy, automotive and biofuels. Packaging content into distinct channels provides opportunities for companies to leverage themselves around focused content.
Those channels will extend into the events and research products, supporting an integrated business model, Keough said.
Solar energy, one of the more mature segments of the market, has been a natural category for the company to develop first, and now Greentech needs to build events, content and research to balance out less-developed channels, he said.
“You need to be treating content on a balanced scale so you can go to a company and say, here's our product portfolio,” he said. “A lot of it is carrying it through the chain.”
Opportunities also lie in cross-platform initiatives like the Greentech Innovations series of conferences launching next month. The company can take better advantage of sponsorship opportunities at its events as well, he said.
The company's own startup status is an asset, Keough said, because it means the company is nimble enough to respond quickly to industry developments and feedback. The educational focus of the market gives the company a reliable revenue stream as it develops its own strategy.
“We have time for the market to evolve,” Keough said. “It gives us the runway to develop all of these other activities.”
It also gives the company time to establish its own brand, he said: “To survive, flourish and grow, we need to more readily understand who the larger players are destined to be and become a go-to source for them.”