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When it comes to choosing a strong medium for their message, business-to-business marketers use the business press as a key tool. With publications covering virtually every facet of the business-to-business world, marketers and their ad agencies need only choose which ones will do the best job for them.

Some publications do it better than others. Business Marketing's Best of the Business Press this year honors eight publications for outstanding service to their business-to-business marketing customers, using criteria established by the marketers themselves.

Best of the Business Press, which last year debuted as Top Trades, honors those magazines that marketers say are doing an outstanding job through editorial excellence, the quality of their circulation and the business opportunities they offer.

This year's winners: Aviation Week & Space Technology, The McGraw-Hill Cos.; Computer Reseller News, CMP Media; Control Engineering, Cahners Business Information; Farm Journal, Farm Journal Corp.; Fortune, Time Inc.; The Industry Standard, Internet Industry Publishing, an International Data Group company; Oil & Gas Journal, PennWell; and Telephony, Intertec Publishing.

To come up with these eight, we first contacted b-to-b marketers and media strategists across the country to find out which publications were important to them. We asked them which publications did the best job in reaching their key audience, what they looked for in selecting a publication to advertise in and which publications best met their needs consistently.

Finally, we asked them which publications appealed to them.

From the long list we compiled, a panel of Business Marketing and Advertising Age editors chose this year's Best of the Business Press.

In weighing our various candidates, we used criteria that marketers and their media buyers cited in nominating publications. Most pointed to editorial integrity and circulation as the key factors in determining the value of a business publication.

They also looked at the increased number of opportunities for exposure to their target audiences through brand expansions, such as Web sites, TV shows, print supplements and research.

As Ellen Freeman, president-CEO of Carat Freeman, Newton, Mass., said of one our winners, "They have created opportunities for advertisers to touch their reader in ways beyond the page, interactive as well as face-to-face. Our clients are looking at what we call brand extensions to have more ways to talk to their audience."

There were, of course, a few factors that affected our judging. For one, none of last year's winners was eligible for this year's selection.

In addition, we excluded publications owned by Crain Communications Inc., publisher of Business Marketing.

Finally, when we made our decision, we limited our selection to one winner in a subject category. For example, while other general business weeklies were mentioned more than many of the vertical publications, we chose Fortune as the publication that has excelled, by our criteria, over the past year to represent that area.

There are thousands of trade publications. It would be impossible to evaluate each one. As a result, many fine magazines are missing from this list.

Business-to-business marketers and their media planners and buyers who know of a publication that we should consider for next year's Best of the Business Press competition can send a letter with the name of the publication, its parent company and a paragraph explaining why we should consider it to:

Best of the Business Press
Business Marketing
740 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Or send an e-mail to Editor Karen Egolf at [email protected].

Aviation Week & Space Technology
Computer Reseller News
Control Engineering
Farm Journal
The Industry Standard
Oil & Gas Journal
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