Jason Ward entered the magazine world in 1999. Ten years later, he became director of lead generation and audience development for Edgell Communications.
Media Business: What are the immediate challenges that you and your department are dealing with right now?
Most b-to-b publishers have audience data spread across numerous databases. It makes it very difficult to understand an audience. In addition, that audience may or may not associate a publisher's print publication with its associated online and event channels. Audience development is a much easier task for the publisher across all mediums if every audience member has only one updated and current record. It is also easier for audience members if they can manage their subscriptions and preferences all in one place, as well as discover new ways to interact with the brand.
MB: What industrywide issues do you see ahead that are worrisome?
The biggest challenge is understanding the ever-increasing number of content consumption channels available to the audience as well as how to offer those options to an audience without overwhelming them. Print, traditional media websites, live events, mobile apps, digital editions, Web events, social media sites are all channels a media brand needs to use to engage with an audience, but they all must work together to develop a loyal audience—not compete with one another for short-term gains.