UBM Tech last month announced it will streamline its marketing services in a new unit dubbed Create, consolidating offerings that had been scattered across the organization into one division.
The new unit rounds out UBM services, said Scott Mozarsky, president of UBM Tech, which publishes such brands as EE Times and InformationWeek.
“Historically our customers thought of us as merely a media company,” Mozarsky said. “They bought events or some form of display advertising from us. [Now] more customers are recognizing that we can do things that they didn't realize.”
Create will focus on shifting customers from one-off services to integrated programs that can leverage custom online communities, the PR Newswire service and other UBM Tech resources, Mozarsky said. “We're able to offer our customers programs that run across paid, owned and earned media,” he said.
UBM Tech built a 35-member team for the debut of Create, Mozarsky said. Some of the staff migrated from existing UBM groups, but the company also recruited employees with backgrounds in areas including lead nurturing, integrated marketing and app design. “We hired people to fill gaps in our business,” Mozarsky said.
The division will tap outside departments for database management and sales support, allowing its staff to focus on providing consulting services and creating integrated marketing programs, he said.
The launch comes on the heels of a companywide reorganization that saw UBM Tech shift to a digital-only publishing model. As media companies explore new opportunities in a rapidly evolving business landscape, it's the kind of move that many publishers are weighing, said Catharine Hays, executive director of the Wharton Future of Advertising Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Media companies are changing their business models,” she said. “Before, the media company was a vessel into which you poured independent ads. But there are other ways they can create value.”
Media companies have extensive databases, a reputation for creating compelling and credible content, and a growing array of digital assets, she said. In a climate in which content marketing and native advertising are top-of-mind, and marketers are struggling to become publishers, those strengths matter. “Media companies are realizing what they bring to the table,” Hays said.
The way the marketing services model will affect agencies remains to be seen.
Marketing agencies may need to recalibrate their relationships with publishers to accommodate the new business model, Hays said, but the shift should be beneficial to both parties because publishers and agencies still have different skill sets. “Agencies who embrace [the new model] will have a lot of creative value to bring to bear,” she said.
The new model will help streamline the process of running marketing programs across UBM channels and could remove agencies from the position of middle men, said Martyn Etherington, CMO of Mitel, a communications company and UBM marketing services client.
UBM Tech connects marketers to a wide array of services, he said. “But [before the launch of Create] you were missing that last mile. We would have to work with a third party to provide aspects that they will offer now.”
In that regard, agencies should take note, he said: “It really does send a shot across the bow.”