BtoB

You must listen to the marketers

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Our industry has come through a tough time, as our dependence on marketing and advertising dollars has caused a sea change within many business media companies. But as we have learned before, as the economy rises and corporations begin performing better, marketers will spend again. BtoB recently reported that there is a significant jump in new b-to-b campaigns being launched this fall, including efforts from American Express OPEN, Sybase, UPS, Verizon, Visa and Xerox, to name a few. The growth may not be huge, but clearly we are past the worst, and in some verticals, such as technology, profits are up and ad spending looks much stronger. But are you getting the increases, or are you still waiting for print to take off? I am a firm believer in giving marketers more of what they want, and many of us have been hesitant to do that. As we all know, marketers have to prove ROI, and that means they need to prove that they are driving leads and customers to their sites and sales teams. We need to give them a mix of channels research to help them achieve ROI—and help us get our share of the dollars. What's the next frontier? Forbes Media is launching AdVoice, selling blogspace alongside editorial contributions. Will it work? It's a risk. But it's a potential winner, and it's what marketers want—a voice in the content. Every day, we need to think, “What would I want if I were a marketer?” and then give them what they want—for a price. Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.
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