ABM Executive Forum speakers outline challenges facing b-to-b media

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Chicago—Each speaker at American Business Media’s Executive Forum, held Monday and Tuesday here, focused on the continuing challenges facing the b-to-b media sector.

Several presenters identified the increasing use of social media and mobile, which may be as disruptive as the rise of the search, as key changes that b-to-b media must address. Illustrating this change, Rich Gordon, professor and director of digital innovation at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, pointed out that generated 18% of its page views from social media and just 9% from Google searches.

Perhaps the most sobering presentation was given by Doug Webster, Cisco Systems’ senior director of worldwide service provider marketing, who described how the company introduced a new router by using social media and producing its own events. Cisco largely bypassed traditional trade shows and trade publication advertising—with the exception of running online ads on selected vertical sites and renting e-mail lists from trade publishers.

Noting the challenges that continue to face the b-to-b media sector, Clark Pettit, ABM’s new president-CEO, took an electronic poll of the attendees in an attempt to gather input about where the members believe the association can offer the most help to the industry. The results of the polling were displayed immediately, and the initial feedback indicated that more than 85% attendees were very or extremely interested in having the ABM help identify ways to help members monetize various platforms.

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