'75 Percent of Our Readers Would Not Give Up Their Print Magazine Right Now.'
GIE Media, a nearly 30-year-old business-to-business media company, has been one to watch. From being named as Publishing Executive's Best Magazine Publishing Company to Work For in 2008, to continuing to thrive amid recession (though no doubt hitting some rough patches along the way, as virtually every publisher has done), it seems to have had its priorities in the right places. And with 20-some print magazines, 16 events and counting, custom products, data-driven products and lead generation, successful websites, e-newsletters, and more recent expansion into digital publications and apps, that can be no small feat.
It keeps its debt manageable, focuses on growth areas, continues to invest in its foundation ("Most web brands in b-to-b are built off of solid print products. You need the brand to build out non-print areas successfully," says company President and COO Chris Foster), and maximizes its use of data to service marketers whose goal is increasingly to speak to relevant individuals.
Here, Foster talks about the company's biggest growth areas and where it's investing most heavily, as well as what his perspective is on the print-digital picture now and for the future.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: What is GIE Media's fastest-growing revenue segment?
Chris Foster: On a percentage basis, it is conferences. In terms of overall dollars, it is print, because print makes up such a large portion of GIE Media revenues overall.
Skodzinski: To what do you attribute that?
Foster: New tradeshow activity in addition to a supplier desire to do more face-to-face with clients. Web can start a relationship, but with large dollar sales, face-to-face deepens the relationship.
Skodzinski: What is the company's largest revenue segment?
Foster: Print remains our biggest revenue driver- though margins in other areas are much higher.
Skodzinski: What percentage of your revenue currently is driven by print?
Foster: 83 percent