80 Years of Ideas

Preparing Us All for the Next 80 Years

Ad Age Publisher Allison Arden Says It's Not Enough for Media Companies to Be Multiplatform to Succeed

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Allison Arden
Allison Arden
As Ad Age celebrates 80 years, I'm reminded of a question people often asked at the end of 2007 when I became publisher and Ad Age was just a spry 77: What did I want to accomplish in the next five years? My reply was, 'To lay the groundwork to ensure Ad Age lived to see its next 77 years." I couldn't have predicted then what lay ahead, but I knew our business and our world was changing.

Three years earlier, in 2004, Ad Age found itself for the first time experiencing many of the same realities facing the consumer-facing media companies we cover editorially and call on for advertising. Our worlds started to blend as the internet and digital technology began forcing down boundaries of all kinds. It was then that we made significant efforts to evolve from a print-based company to a multi-platform media company. We turned that corner and were quite proud of the accomplishment.

But then came September 2008. The world changed again, and becoming a multiplatform media company wasn't enough of an accomplishment anymore. Suddenly businesses of all kinds joined media companies as everyone struggled to find a sustainable business model in place of one that was no longer working. We all worked to redefine our business and understand our core value proposition to make those damned trend lines move up.

Difficult times have inspired us to look at our brand from different perspectives and launch some exciting and interesting new initiatives.

As the world becomes increasing flatter, we have re-thought our role in the global advertising community leading to our relaunch of Ad Age Global. Once a print product meant to serve a select group of global ad executives, the new Ad Age Global is a weekly e-newsletter designed to curate the most interesting and important stories from around the world and serve a broader audience of executives desiring and requiring a global perspective.

We have also recognized the exciting role Advertising Age can play in helping to educate the future generation of business leaders. Let's face it, at the speed at which business is changing, it is virtually impossible for curricula to evolve quickly enough. Ad Age on Campus is a new program we continue to develop and evolve with ongoing feedback from professors and students.

One of our biggest "a-ha" moments in the past year has been that our readers do not come to us for the paper we are printed on or the pixels on a screen -- stunningly obvious, yet a transformational and freeing notion. When we are doing our jobs well, we deliver the news, information, analysis, perspective, data and ideas that our community needs to do their job to the best of their ability and find their way in an ever-changing market. Most importantly, we provide a filter to deliver our readers those things most worthy of their attention.

Based on this, we have recently launched a division called Ad Age Insights. As Larry Light pointed out at the 4A's Conference in early March, an insight is only an insight if it does two things: 1) provides you with surprising information that you didn't know before, and 2) delivers actionable information that changes how you will move forward. Check, check.

Hopefully, you have already noticed that we have begun creating new ways for you to access our content that are most helpful to you. We are doing this through white papers, data products and webcasts, just to name a few. We have also begun working with individual organizations on specific information needs, whether that be the best candidates for a job opening, the most appropriate companies to partner with based on current objectives, or the most important trends they specifically should be focusing on in the coming year.

We have only scratched the surface, but we are energized about the future of our industry and Ad Age's place within it. We look forward to being a partner to you as we move forward in this new area. And, please, share your success stories in business evolution so we can begin documenting them for future generations. We'll all look back with pride at all we accomplished when put to the test.

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