Learning markets a challenge when integrating new titles

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When Summit Media acquired Wicks Business Information in July, it assigned WBI's four titles to its Highline Media unit, where Amanda Schuster serves as audience-marketing director.

MB: How did the acquisition change your department?

Schuster: I reorganized the department. One [part] used to be more involved with BPA statements and reports. The other was more involved with paid efforts. They both worked on all of the titles. Now each is in charge of a group of titles. We're spending lots more time with publishers, a lot more figuring out what the market is, what the publishers' goals are [and] how we can help achieve those goals. We always have to figure out if the goals are worth the cost and effort. Do we want to spend $100,000 in order to get this statistic up on the BPA statement? What's the payoff if we do that? How important is it? It's a constant gamble.

MB: The conversations with the publishers started with the acquisition?

Schuster: They started before. For the past few years, I've been trying to get audience marketing into a better place with the publishers, and that's paying off. We met with them here in our offices in northern Kentucky and then flew to their offices in New York and Chicago; and we really tried to be responsive to them. My circulator job is easier if the publisher understands what I do [and] respects me. The bottom line is that we make money from ads, and I know I'm here to help our publishers sell ads and figure out what they need in order to do that. —M.J.M.

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