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Kropp joins Penton custom media

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Economy a challenge, but custom services offer smart marketing Joann Kropp doesn't like the phrase one-stop shop, but it does succinctly explain what the custom media group at Penton Media offers advertisers. “I've got to come up with a new word,” she said. “Penton has a subscriber base, plus all the other data.” Whatever term she settles on, it likely will be an integral part of the sales pitch she will refine as VP-customer data solutions, a newly created position in the company's custom media group. “They're putting more skin in the game,” she said. “We're really going to focus on partnering with the advertisers. We're not just a bricks-and-mortar company. We're a data solutions company.” Kropp will work with advertisers to develop custom solutions that extend the reach, not only within targeted segments of Penton's database of 5.5 million subscribers but also to outside markets. “It's partnering with the advertisers,” she said. “They need marketing information.” Kropp expects to grow list and name-based revenues, even as marketers slash budgets in a tough economy. She declined to share numbers. “We're going to develop tools for existing streams and then build new revenue streams to meet our customers' marketing needs,” she said. “Marketing dollars are the first thing that goes in an economy like this, [but] we're going to offer a chance to market a bit smarter. We can be a very valuable resource in a down economy. We're going to have an advantage here.” The former president of the Walter Karl Inc. division of database giant infoUSA, Kropp knows how to handle a list. She will now help the Penton sales force and its customers navigate custom products that include everything from market research to magazine, event and Web production. “I'm energized to work directly with these customers,” she said. “I'm on the client side now. I go out with Penton sales [representatives] and sit down and brainstorm about what the needs are. It's going to be one-on-one sales.” The strength of the company's database, its research arm and expert partnerships offer a unique combination to advertisers, she said. “We have a very different approach, and we're going to be able to offer that expertise so they can get it all in one place.” Kropp will also lend her marketing background to the company's Chief Marketer Group, which includes Chief Marketer, Direct, Multichannel Merchant and PROMO. “We want to be the go-to for CMOs,” she said of the Chief Marketer Group. Her philosophy on marketing: “It's always going to be about targeting.” The delivery vehicle may change, she said, but the focus remains on reaching the right audience and then building loyalty. Kropp joins Penton on the heels of a corporate reorganization that saw the expansion of the custom publishing division earlier this year. Joe Pulizzi, former VP-custom media, left the company in 2007. M Joann Kropp Company: Penton Media Location: New York Title: VP-customer data solutions Big move: Former infoUSA executive joins Penton's custom publishing group Five-year plan: Grow existing and new revenue streams
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