Bobit Business Media CEO: “Last year was the worst year in our 49-year history.”
Skodzinski: You currently produce 14 events. What percent of your revenue do events contribute?
Bobit: Trade shows and conferences represent 17 percent of our total revenue.
Skodzinski: Have events been a growth area for you? Do you anticipate them to be in the future?
Bobit: We've been producing trade shows for 26 years. Generally speaking, events have been doing well for us. Most are now flat or growing. A lot depends on the market.
It's a real challenge building the attendance to make our exhibitors happy. That's where we're putting a lot of our resources. If business continues to ask more from everyone, I expect we'll see less people traveling to events, and it will be difficult to keep up overall growth.
Skodzinski: What are other significant revenue drivers?
Bobit: We're pretty much a typical b-to-b media company right now focusing on print, online and events.
Skodzinski: Have you held any virtual events or webinars? If so, do these provide significant supplemental revenue, or do you expect them to in the future? If not, do you plan to?
Bobit: We conduct 20 or so webinars annually, and they've been great lead-generators for our sponsors. An advertiser would have to run a full 12- month schedule to get as many leads off of ads as they do from one webinar. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers in our segments are not seriously interested in lead-gen and feel that webinars are too expensive.
We haven't conducted any virtual events yet, but we definitely see this as an opportunity for us, especially in market segments where people have travel restrictions.
Skodzinski: Where is Bobit Business Media investing most heavily?
Bobit: The Web, of course, is our No. 1 area for investment. We have a great, growing in-house Web team, and we're looking for ways in which we can automate more. We've also invested in training for our content producers and salespeople.