Recently promoted Hanley Wood President Goldstone focuses on full integration
Peter Goldstone, the recently promoted Hanley Wood president, leads the media company's push to more fully integrate its trade shows, magazines and Web properties. He spoke with Media Business
about the need for a unified approach, the promise of distance learning opportunities and what it all means for the producer of events like World of Concrete.
Media Business: What is the overarching philosophy behind the integration?
Even though we're a big company with a lot of platforms, we really serve one market. There is a lot of crossover between magazine and event assets. There is a commonality in terms of the audiences we serve, so one unified strategy is what the market is demanding right now. The focus is on integration and making sure that a marketer is optimizing his or her marketing spend with Hanley Wood. The way to do that is to integrate the businesses and have one unified voice and approach.
MB: What steps are you taking?
Operationally it's a major change for us. The areas that come to mind first: leveraging one common unified database. The key driver of the business going forward is to always replenish and refresh your database. In a magazine database, the only thing you really have are subscribers. But many people who attend events are not necessarily subscribers to the magazines. Leveraging these databases across platforms allows you to expand your universe and find new customers.
Then [comes] e-media. Instead of having two separate and distinct e-media strategies, you can leverage one e-media platform where you get more out of the investments you make.
There are a number of different ways we can leverage expertise across the platforms. One is key accounts. If you have key accounts supporting magazines and e-media as well as exhibitions, one unified approach makes sense for the customers and makes sense for us. And then [there are] areas of content and programming: How can you tap into the expertise of editors who work on magazines and e-media, and bring them into your events to make the programming more relevant?
The last piece is training. We have a big commitment to building out Hanley Wood University, which is this online distance learning business that we've created. We've had a lot of success in launching this in business media at Hanley Wood; but, if you think about trade shows and events, they really are opportunities for people to get educated.
Tons of live education goes on at our trade shows, so how do you take live content and create programming for Hanley Wood University? It delivers more content for the distance learning opportunity, but it also allows an exhibition brand like World of Concrete to move beyond the days the event takes place. You can offer content and training that came out of the trade show, and you can deliver that 365 days a year.
MB: What are the key opportunities for growth in the events market?
There are a lot of advertisers that do not exhibit in the trade shows; and there are lots of exhibitors who do not advertise in the magazines. Doing an analysis and figuring out how you can expand the relationship with a key customer is one of the first opportunities. The other opportunity has to do with building big integrated proposals. Every marketer has an idea of what they want to spend in media, what they want to do in events; but, if we can integrate these offerings, that would be much more relevant to the customer. Those are low-hanging fruit.
The biggest opportunity has to do with e-media. When you think about how e-media has already changed print media and how it is just starting to be part of the conversation for exhibitions, I think you can see lots of opportunities to extend the e-media platform across exhibitions. That can come in terms of advertising, or sponsorships, or training businesses or lead-generation businesses. Taking a lot of the successes that we've had in e-media across the media entity and extending it across exhibitions will pay off in a pretty big way. M