2007 Top Innovators: Mark Harling, VP-business development, Putman Media

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Mark Harling Division: Small
Title: VP-business development
Company: Putnam Media
Comment: Since joining Putman, Harling has created and implemented a plan that boosted online revenue from 1% of sales in 2004 to 11% in 2006.

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Before he joined Putman Media as VP-business development in 2004, Mark Harling was thinking of getting out of publishing altogether after a b-to-b media career that spanned more than 20 years. "But, before I did that, I wanted to look into what was happening online," he said.

It didn't take Harling long to realize that the future of b-to-b media was on the Web, so he hooked up with Putman Media to help put the small b-to-b company on the digital media map. Putman CEO John Cappelletti has offered more than moral support, Harling said. "He has been willing to over invest in digital media as compared to other companies our size."

Even though he had no Internet publishing experience, Harling immersed himself in the medium and developed a strategic plan for a companywide digital media effort. "In online media, you don't need to be on the leading edge. You can be part of the second wave, learn from others and still be very successful," he noted.

Putman's online revenue grew from 1% in 2004 to 11% in 2006. Harling said the company will likely have "a nice jump up again in 2007," bringing the digital portion of sales to about 15%. "On the whole, advertisers are decreasing their print budgets slightly, but they're rapidly increasing online spending," he said.

One of Harling's innovations is, Putman's first Web site without a print counterpart. Launched in March 2006, it is a repository of information regarding drug discovery, R&D, manufacturing, marketing and outsourcing.

Prior to joining Putman, Harling ran Harling Communications from 1994 to 2004. He started his b-to-b media career in 1980 as a regional sales manager with SN Publications.

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