‘Media Business’ honors Top Innovators

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B-to-b publishers’ ability to foster innovation in a constantly changing media environment was the overall theme at Tuesday’s luncheon honoring the winners of Media Business’ sixth annual Top Innovators in Business Publishing Awards.

“Innovation must start with the CEO, and employees need to sense and feel that the CEO wants to do new things and test new approaches—no matter how radical they may feel to department heads,” said Jeff Killeen, chairman-CEO of engineering search engine GlobalSpec, who was named top CEO in the small trade category. When Killeen joined GlobalSpec in 2002, it had 194,000 registered users. Now it has 5 million and is adding about 80,000 more a month.

Killeen said mastering a registration model from the get-go has been a crucial element in building GlobalSpec’s online presence in the last several years. “Registration allows us to watch click-stream behavior and end up with fully contactable, intelligent reach—and that’s the difference between [online] traffic and real sales leads,” he said, adding that GlobalSpec generates 350,000 leads a month for its clients.

The awards luncheon, held at the Hilton New York, attracted about 125 people from the media business, including publishers, circulation managers and marketing executives. Awards were presented in six categories: CEO, publishing executive, online executive, events (a new category), audience development and production. Some categories were divided into large trade, small trade (less than $200 million in annual revenue) and general business.

Innovation among b-to-b publishers is now more important than ever, as print media continue to shrink and marketing budgets migrate to the Web. According to American Business Media, b-to-b print advertising pages fell 29.70% in the first quarter, compared with the same period in 2008.

Bob Carrigan, CEO of IDG Communications Worldwide, stressed that innovation is key for business publishers to get through the economic downturn and prepare for even more dramatic changes in the delivery of business information.

“I’m not just talking about incremental innovation, whether it’s a redesign or more consultative selling, which is important,” said Carrigan, who was honored as top CEO in the large trade category. “What’s required is innovation that goes beyond that. We are obsessed with reinvention, with how we distribute information to users and how we work with marketers.”

Jim Sulecki, director of e-media for Meister MediaWorldwide and this year’s online executive honoree in the small trade category, said b-to-b publishers of every stripe need to adapt to an increasingly digital age. “When agriculture markets embrace the Internet you know the Web has affected every nook and cranny in the economy,” he said.

Large: Bob Carrigan, CEO, IDG Communications Worldwide
Small: Jeff Killeen, chairman-CEO, GlobalSpec
•Publishing Executive
Large: Tony Uphoff, CEO, TechWeb division of United Business Media
Small: Robert Merry, president-editor in chief, Congressional Quarterly
General: Keith Fox, president, BusinessWeek division of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Large: Alex Kam, VP-digital media, Incisive Media
Small: Jim Sulecki, director of e-media, Meister Media Worldwide
General: Gordon McLeod, president, the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, Dow Jones & Co.
Mary Dolaher, CEO, IDG World Expo
•Audience Development
Nick Cavnar, VP-circulation, Hanley Wood Business Media
Glenn R. Filippone, VP-production, Incisive Media

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