John Brandt, the newly named publisher-editor in chief of IndustryWeek, is shaking up the Penton Media Inc. magazine in an effort to share in the current boom in advertising aimed at top management:
Brandt, formerly associate publisher-editor in chief, announced several changes after being promoted earlier this month:
IW Growing Companies magazine, an IndustryWeek brand extension, will cease publication and be converted to a bimonthly editorial section in IndustryWeek.
IndustryWeek will increase its circulation 7.3% to 250,000, with a focus on top manufacturing management.
The magazine will add several columnists, including former New York Times columnist Timothy Middleton and consultant Lance Secretan.
The publication will add daily content to its Web site and also create dedicated Web sites for specific areas of interest.
The changes come amid a surge in advertising in publications targeted at management. Between 1998 and 1999, Business Week, for instance, saw its ad pages increase nearly 23% to 5,121.81, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Fortune's pages grew 13% to 4,406.26, and Forbes' grew 7% to 5,063.30.
Although the magazine has made money, IndustryWeek generally hasn't shared in the increases. Between 1998 and 1999, the publication's ad pages fell nearly 9% to 969.08, according to Competitive Media Reporting data. Brandt, however, said the IndustryWeek brand, including pages from IW Growing Companies, saw its total ad pages increase slightly between 1998 and 1999.
Reaching top management
As computerization and the Internet have unified corporate structure, top management has become a central force in making decisions about product specification. This is especially the case with computer hardware and software, which can affect an entire enterprise. Additionally, the manufacturing sector has become attractive of late as the whole b-to-b arena has become a target of e-business and e-commerce applications.
"We're a book for senior executives in manufacturing," Brandt said. "That hasn't so much changed as we're letting everyone know that."
Tyler Schaeffer, director-media brand planning at Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, which just won the Compaq Computer Corp. account, agreed. "[IndustryWeek has] tremendous potential and tremendous opportunity," he said. "There's no place the Internet hasn't touched, and manufacturing is one of the top five priorities for high-tech marketers."
Brandt said tech advertising is the largest category in IndustryWeek and that the magazine can attract more of those marketers. It has added more than 30 advertisers this year, including Dell Computer Corp., Oracle Corp. and Industry to Industry.com.
Media strategists, however, criticized IndustryWeek for failing to match the entertainment value of Fortune and other business magazines. Additionally, IndustryWeek was faulted for not promoting its e-commerce coverage.
Brandt's recently announced changes should address these shortfalls. First, the addition of name columnists should boost the readability of the magazine. And second, renaming its three-year-old "Managing the internetworked corporation" section as "IW e-business" should make the section's purpose clear, Brandt said.
He also said the shuttering of IW Growing Companies will redirect investment to IndustryWeek's Web site. He said the spinoff magazine performed reasonably well and the closure was a matter of "where do you want to invest your resources?"
In addition to adding more daily content, IndustryWeek is selling its Census of Manufacturing study on its Web site for $1,395. It is also developing what it calls microsites. One of the first (www.iwvaluechain.com) focuses on value chain management. The site, sponsored by Atlanta-based NetVendor Inc., a software and services provider that helps suppliers integrate into multiple e-marketplaces, combines editorial and "clearly marked" advertorial, said Brandt, who has plans for other microsites examining business development and e-business.
Brandt is optimistic about the alterations to IndustryWeek and its Web site. "I have to think we're terrifically well-positioned," he said. "There is a renewed interest in manufacturing, and. . . the reality is that e-commerce and e-business are here to stay, and we have a tremendous opportunity there."
Brandt succeeded Carl Marino as publisher. Marino left in March to become chairman of Marino Family Ventures, which bought Tampa, Fla.-based advertising business Curtin & Pease/Peneco, from Penton Media.