Farm Journal Media is often cited as a strong b-to-b media company focused on a single market. Hanley Wood is another, even though its single market is the battered construction industry.
The industry's woes have hurt Hanley Wood, which has made deep job cuts. Its credit rating was recently downgraded by Standard & Poor's, but the company has not yet had to resort to a financial restructuring.
CEO Anton said Hanley Wood's knowledge of its industry has helped it remain resilient in the downturn. The company generates revenue from advertising, events, data and marketing services. It has also remained aggressive in seeking new revenue streams. For example, its Architect recently entered an agreement to become the official publication of the American Institute of Architects beginning in 2011.
“I always thought that a single-market focus makes more sense. You can really dominate a market,” Anton said. “When you can go deep into a market, you can really mine a market.”
Being plugged into a single market also enables a company to anticipate changes, Anton said. “I basically know the CEOs of every one of our top 25 customers,” he said. “I can call them on the phone, not only to sell them something but to call these people and ask them, "What are you thinking about where the market is going?' ”
Anton said he remains optimistic about b-to-b media's future. He added he's confident that, when the construction market bounces back, Hanley Wood, because of its focus, will be on the path to becoming a $400 million company.