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Study: U.S. marketers not keeping up globally

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A majority of North American companies are not keeping pace with global competition, according to a study released by the CMO Council and the Business Performance Management Forum. The study, "Crunch Time: The Competitiveness Audit," was based on a survey of more than 300 North American executives by management consultancy A.T. Kearney. Two-thirds of respondents said they have no formal practices for tracking and analyzing their competition, and 90% of respondents said they expect competition in their sector to intensify in the next two years. Respondents pointed to China as a source of competition over the next two years nearly as often as they pointed to other U.S. companies.

USPS seeks settlement in advance of rate case

The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has asked USPS management to prepare a rate case that will involve a settlement agreement among mailers and interested parties on the proposed increases. "We're preparing an across-the-board rate increase," said Richard J. Strasser Jr., exec VP-CFO of the USPS. "We're still abiding by the commitment not to raise rates until 2006." The postal managers are counting on an agreement by all parties-including large mailers, mailing associations, competitors and trade associations, such as the Direct Marketing Association-in order to accelerate the process, which typically takes a year. "If we can't come to some settlement, we may have to decide at some point to file a regular rate increase, which would probably be higher for everyone," Strasser said.

Web analytics industry creates association

The Web analytics industry announced the formation of the Web Analytics Association, a nonprofit organization created to promote education and the development of standards for online metrics. Founding corporate members of the WAA include Coremetrics, IBM Surfaid, Nedstat, Omniture, Visual Sciences, WebSideStory and WebTrends.

Edgell buys 'Apparel' from VNU Business

VNU Business Media, a division of VNU, announced the sale of Apparel magazine and related assets to Randolph, N.J.-based Edgell Communications. Those assets include a Web site (www.apparelmag.com), a weekly e-newsletter and events. "The acquisition of this well-positioned magazine, event and new media portfolio is a strong start to our near-to-midterm aggressive growth strategy," Gerry Ryerson, Edgell's president, said in a statement. Jordan, Edmiston Group represented VNU in the deal.

CMP Media rolls out new Internet ad unit

CMP Media's TechWeb Network announced the launch of the Dogear Peelback ad unit. The unit features an animated graphic that resembles a folded-over page corner, called a "dogear," that can be customized with an advertiser's logo or other creative. When a user mouses over the dogear, the entire page peels back to reveal the customer's landing page, behind the TechWeb Network news page, giving advertisers a nearly full-page ad that is user-initiated. Sun Microsystems is the first advertiser to use the format, with an ad for its Network Computing event. A demo is available at www.techweb.com/mediakit/dogear.html.

Bacon's MediaSource adds information

Bacon's Information announced it has incorporated news outlets and media contacts from more than 200 countries into MediaSource, its online media management system. "The addition of global information to MediaSource reflects Bacon's commitment to serving public relations professionals wherever they work or operate," Ruth McFarland, senior VP and publisher-research at Bacon's, said in a statement.

Global Sources plans textile Web site, pub

Global Sources plans to launch two new products: Global Sources Garments & Textiles Online in April and Garments & Textiles magazine in June. These products are designed to help international buyers trade more effectively with apparel manufacturers in China, India and other markets. Due to the lifting of textile quotas on Jan. 1, most observers expect China's garment exports to soar in the coming years.

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