Using research as a sales tool

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Miller has been with Prism Business Media (formerly Primedia) since 1998. He is group publisher for the EC&M, Electrical Wholesaling and Rental Equipment Register titles. Prior to joining the b-to-b media, Miller had a 20-year career on the manufacturing side with two leading electrical industry suppliers.

Media Business: What does your group at Prism do exceptionally well?

Miller: EC&M has a heritage of out-standing brand reference research that started before my time. In fact, when I was on the manufacturing side, I developed a relationship with an EC&M salesperson because of the research. He was the one who encouraged me to come here.

MB: How is this research used ?

Miller: It's a tool for the salespeople. Every two years, we go out to our audience and track how brands are perceived. It's now up to 84 categories. It's open-ended: "For this type of product, who do you use?" Then, we publish the results showing the trend for the most recent 10 years. We provide it for free to clients who advertise, and it definitely has an impact on their spending.

In an ordinary sale in print media, there's no proof that advertising works. But with this study we can say, `Look how the needle moved based on your advertising," or, if the client's brand declined, we may point to a competitor and say, "This is what happened with Brand X because of a program that looked like this."

MB: Were you ever under pressure to cut back on this expense?

Miller: Frankly, no. This is our crown jewel, our trademark.

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