Cover Story: Blanket Coverage
Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based magazine publisher Randall-Reilly does not necessarily think of itself as being in the business of magazines. Or, for that matter, publishing. "We've never been the type of company that prides itself on being the absolute best magazine publisher in the world," says Brent Reilly, executive vice president.
What Randall-Reilly does do well—and has been doing well for 77 years, in fact—is building relationships, both with its business-to-business audience, and on behalf of that audience, producing products that create links between readers, vendors and other stakeholders in the industries the company serves.
"We feel like our job is to help our customers find and keep customers," Reilly says. "… We've been very good at doing that through pages of advertising, but we've never been necessarily tied to just [that]. Any way we can facilitate that buyer-seller interaction is what we try to do."
It's an approach that has defined the company since before it purchased its first magazine, Overdrive, in 1986. Randall-Reilly's roots go back to 1934, when entrepreneur Henry Pettus Randall Jr. published the first of his "Who's Who" academic awards books out of a small storefront in Tuscaloosa. From honors books, the company expanded into promotional and awards products, target marketing and, after F. Michael Reilly became CEO in 1984, magazine publishing. Since then, its publishing operations have focused primarily on trucking and construction.
"… Our focus on these two markets has really helped us both from a content standpoint and an advertiser/supplier standpoint," says Linda Longton, Randall-Reilly's senior vice president of editorial and research. "We cover virtually every aspect of trucking and construction, so our audiences … within those industries are very interconnected. [A] reader of one of our brands is a customer of one of our other brands.
"… We can, for instance, tell our fleet audience what their drivers are thinking … [and] our dealer audience what their fleet customers are thinking. If you only have one product in a market, you can't really do that," she says.