Looking beyond the downturn

Database upgrade

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Weitzner also said Ziff Davis Enterprise is upgrading its technology, database and capabilities for audience marketing, primarily online. The ultimate goal is to provide lead generation focused on the appropriate portions of the database and not simply pound the audience with indiscriminate e-mail offers. “We had been fatiguing the database,” Weitzner said. "When I came here, the database was really being beaten up.” Cygnus Business Media, publisher of Firehouse and other magazines, is also making lead generation a priority. As part of this effort, it has created online buyers guides, starting with The Equipment Connection, aimed at the construction market. Like many b-to-b media companies, Cygnus has laid off people and cut hours, but it is investing in training its employees, particularly in search engine optimization. “One of the key things we're doing is to improve reader access to our content,” said Mike Martin, president of Cygnus Publishing. 1105 Media, which publishes Federal Computer Week, is investing with an eye toward building its lead-generation business. Vitale said the company bought a new content management system that will help it focus on lead-generation programs, Web marketing and audience development. Farm Journal Corp. is investing online in e-newsletters. Farm Journal CEO Andy Weber said the company has hired three online employees this year and is looking to bring on another in the department. “We're going to get another developer,” he said. Farm Journal is also among the many b-to-b media companies continuing to invest in events. The company operates the Farm Journal Corn College, which produces a number of events that bring in 400 farmers each paying “upwards of $400,” Weber said. Farm Progress Corp. is another agriculture publisher that is building out its online offerings. The company recently created a portal——to act as a gateway to its regional farm publications. Jeff Lapin, Farm Progress president, said the company is also investing in events. “We have a permanent site, and we're investing in the infrastructure,” he said.
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