Kate Spellman, senior VP-marketing at Penton Media, is leading the development of new marketing services designed to connect large marketers to the 3 million owners of small and midsize businesses served by Penton's media and event brands. Before joining Penton in January, Spellman was president of UBM Studios.
Media Business: Business media companies often aggregate audiences for marketers of widely used business products and services, from credit cards to office supplies. What is different about Penton's SMB initiative?
Kate Spellman: We're not putting together a banner advertising network. We're creating opportunities for marketers to engage deeply with SMBs based on Penton's understanding of each vertical market. Farmers have different interests than wealth managers or restaurateurs, so we will tailor the marketers' messages to specific verticals. We've done research to find out what information small business owners want in various verticals, as well as how and when they want to receive it. We have researched day-parting. In the morning, for example, most people get their information via the smartphone, TV and radio, but there are verticals where the audience is likely to be at their desks using a computer. We also know which platforms—print, tablet, smartphone and computer—are best to use to reach each vertical.
MB: Will you be doing lead generation?
Spellman: Absolutely. We know how to fill the front end of the funnel and use marketing automation—fueled by content that will engage audiences in each vertical—to take prospects through the nurturing process.
MB: Are marketers trying to reach all 3 million SMB owners or do they tend to focus on a few specific verticals?
Spellman: They're doing both. One large insurance company wants to focus on three verticals, and we have a credit card company looking at two verticals. Others, though, want very broad reach.