Top Trades: Fortune

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Five years ago, Fortune lagged well behind Business Week and Forbes in ad pages and prestige.

"We were an also-ran, a third player in a three-book race," said Michael Pepe, who, until he was recently elevated to president of Time-Warner's e-commerce division, was president of Fortune's Business Information Group. He credits Fortune's managing editor, John Huey, and president and publisher, Jolene Sykes, with reinvigorating the nearly 70-year-old magazine.

Published by: Time Inc., New York
Publisher: Jolene Sykes
Managing editor: John Huey
Circulation director: Richard Fraiman
Frequency: 24 times a year
Circulation: 781,883 (in North America)
Readership: Reaches more than 700,000 people employed in business, industry or the professions; more than 65% of readers are in top management.
Rates: 4C page 1x, $67,500; 4C page 12x, $51,300
Marketing opportunities: Conferences; technology buyer's guides; international editions; "Newsstand: CNN & Fortune," a weekly newsmagazine; Web site.
1998 ad pages: 3,899
Ad Page growth: 27.8% growth from '94-'98; (8.3%, '97-'98)
The publication remains in third place, but it is gaining fast. Last year its share of ad pages among the big three grew by 1.4%, according to figures released by the Publishers Information Bureau.

The same figures show the magazine's ad pages growing 8.3% and its revenue growing 12.3% between 1997 and 1998. Since 1994, the magazine's ad pages have increased by 27.8%.

Technology coverage

A key to the magazine's resurgence, especially among business-to-business marketers, is its editorial focus on technology.

"Four years ago we hadn't used the word `Internet' three times in the history of the magazine," Mr. Huey says. Now the word sometimes appears three times on a single page.

"What I like about their technology coverage is that I find it to be written almost for the nontechnical audience," says Jan McDaniel, worldwide advertising manager for personal systems at Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.

"That's very interesting and intriguing if you want to branch out and reach the people who are not really making the IT decisions but are endorsing them," she says.

In addition to courting readers with its technology coverage, Fortune has also been wooing tech advertisers. Ellen Freeman, president-CEO of Carat Freeman, Newton, Mass., says the magazine revamped its sales approach to embrace business-to-business marketers, who had often taken a back seat to consumer accounts.

"Their sales staff is now armed with relevant data, not household income or trips taken," Ms. Freeman says. "Now they're talking about the use of technology on the job. A lot of that has been driven by Jolene Sykes."

Another way that Ms. Sykes and company have changed Fortune is to target the magazine, which had long been a top-management publication, at executives below the level of CEO, COO and CFO. Fortune's ability to reach top and middle-level management appealed to Boise Cascade Office Products, Itasca, Ill., which debuted its brand-building campaign in the magazine in January.

"You can't go wrong with Fortune," says David Goudge, Boise Cascade's VP-marketing. "It's a class publication. You're never embarrassed to be in there."

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