Callahan takes on gov't titles

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Back in 2001, Nellie Callahan and her colleagues at Hanley Wood designed an integrated, mobile marketing program in the form of an "ultimate" work truck that brought together products from some of the larger advertisers in the company's Tools of the Trade magazine.

The Site Commander, as the truck was called, visited 1,200 construction job sites and tool distribution warehouses, enabling advertising partners such as Ford Motor Co. and Hilti Corp. to bring their products directly to professional contractors.

It proved to be a winning proposition for advertisers. An annual event, the campaign generated 14 million impressions last year from print, in-person events and online responses. And for Hanley Wood, it cemented client relationships and added up to a $1.7 million print program.

Now Callahan, who was group publisher of Hanley Wood's remodeling group, is looking to take that formula and others she's developed in more than 20 years in publishing-most of it at construction trade publications-and apply them in a whole new arena. In August, she joined PostNewsweek Tech Media as VP-group publisher, overseeing sales and marketing for the print, online and events properties of Government Computer News, Government Leader and Washington Technology.

While it's a new industry for Callahan and there's a learning curve, she said she believes the same playbook can work for PostNews-week Tech Media, so long as progress is made toward better integrating the three properties. "The problem is nobody wants silos, but they aren't really sure how to integrate everything together," she said. "You need to put it all together in front of a company."

Callahan's hiring, and her desire to better tie together various properties, comes at a time when IT spending by government agencies continues to post steady single-digit gains, and an increasing number of publishers are going after pieces of the sector. That's part of the challenge that drew Callahan to the job.

A few changes already are planned. Government Leader, introduced in March as a quarterly, will be published six times next year and Callahan is aiming to ultimately make it a monthly.

She also wants to schedule many more events linked to the three titles and conduct them inside the Beltway as well as outside. FOSE, the largest technology event for the government market, celebrates its 30th anniversary next year in Washington. While that's ground zero for the federal government, Callahan notes that 80% of Government Computer News' readers are from outside Washington.

Does that mean another mobile marketing program? "I don't think I can just pull into the Pentagon with a load of IBM products," she said. "But the same thing applies. We've got people who want to know about product and they can't always get to where the product is. It's imperative to reach them where they are."

Callahan's resume includes jobs at Oscar Mayer and Polaroid Corp. before first joining Hanley Wood in 1982 as a regional sales manager. She left the company after five years to work for McGraw-Hill Cos., then served as publisher of Builderburg Group, Burlington, Vt., before being recruited back to Hanley Wood in 1997. A year later, she helped with Hanley Wood's acquisition of Builderburg. 

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