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TechTarget aims to fill midmarket IT 'vacuum'

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BY SEAN CALLAHAN

Joe Levy, TechTarget’s exec VP, who is overseeing the company’s April 2005 launch of CIODecisions magazine, anticipated the question before it was even asked: "Why should trees give their lives for another print publication in [the information technology] space?"

TechTarget CEO Greg Strakosch, the man who brought Levy to the company this past summer, has long disparaged broad IT publications. "It’s fair to say," Strakosch said, "that the Fortune 1,000 CIO market is over-published and over-served, but it’s also fair to say that the midmarket is grossly underserved."

The midmarket is exactly what TechTarget is aiming for with the CIODecisions Media Group, which will also include events and the Web site CIODecisions.com. The monthly print publication, which was announced last week, will have a controlled circulation of 60,000, culled, in part, from D&B’s list of about 40,000 companies that have annual revenue between $50 million and $2 billion or employee totals between 100 and 1,000. The list is supplemented by TechTarget’s database of 1 million registered users.

Maryfran Johnson, who came to TechTarget earlier this year from Computerworld magazine at International Data Group (where Levy founded CIO magazine in 1987), will be editor in chief of CIODecisions. The idea behind the magazine is that midmarket IT professionals have different concerns and budget constraints than, say, the CIO at General Motors Corp. "There’s a surprising vacuum of resources dedicated to IT leaders in the midmarket, despite their growing influence of purchasing power," Johnson said.

Pointing out that the next Dell and the next Google are likely in the midmarket right now, Levy said tech marketers want to reach this subset of companies, because that’s where the growth is. "The Global 2000," he said, "does not have that much new spending."

Levy added that initial sales calls introducing the new magazine have gone well. "Everyone gets it," he said. "Everyone see that the midmarket deserves something that focuses on it."

The launch of CIODecisions also indicates what TechTarget plans to do with the $70 million in venture capital funding it raised earlier this year. "What we’re going to do is a lot of organic launches," Strakosch said. "We’ll have six organic launches--Web sites and conferences--in the next 60 days."

The move also shows that TechTarget is adhering to the model it has pursued with Storage and Information Security; building a monthly print publication geared to a target segment of IT and then surrounding it with targeted events and a Web site.

The model, of course, seems to be working. Privately held TechTarget said it posted 39% revenue growth in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.

"They’ve figured out how to make money where nobody else has," said Seth Alpert, managing director at AdMedia Partners. "I would say if anybody has a chance of making [a new print publication work], it would be them."

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