Are Your Priorities Straight?
Lannon says he can envision adding specialized staff—video editors as webcasts become more important, for instance—but that, for now, the focus is on judiciously adding media tailored to the immediate strategic objectives of the company.
“It’s easy to say we need another blog or newsletter,” he notes, “but [in some cases] people do not have the time. So in that sense, it is incumbent on everyone to think through this scarce resource, which is not talent, it’s time. Our commitment to editors is to let them participate in that process. You have to prioritize and learn from your experience—you might find that when you put 10 hours into something, only part of it is valued by the audience, and so it just needs seven hours. You can create time there,” he says.
New Ways to Sell
Warren Bimblick, senior vice president of financial services, marketing media and custom group at Penton Media, suggests that, in selling integrated media packages, a better approach is “talking to the advertisers about what you’re trying to accomplish rather than [about] how many units of something I can sell you.”
Penton, the largest b-to-b company in the United States, produces 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites and 96 trade shows in 30 industries. Its financial services division publishes Registered Rep, serving retail financial-services professionals, and Trusts & Estates, aimed at wealth-management professionals.
“We try not to go in to an advertiser with the ‘blue plate special,’ which is ‘next month is something on such-and such,’” Bimblick says. “We say, ‘What are you trying to do? How are you trying to differentiate,’ and then, ‘What are the appropriate media avenues to reach those people?’”
Such an approach requires a new type of salesperson trained in new ways, Berman says.
“Salespeople now often have a complex array of product offerings for their clients [that] they must master, and then they have to adjust the way they sell, and it’s not an automatic adjustment,” she says. “So the executives need to make sure they train their salespeople to create a bridge between magazine-only and multimedia selling.”