Prioritizing the Next Stage of Publishing
The other way to use modern capabilities is through social media. We have hundreds of thousands … of followers and folks that our editors are constantly in touch with. Social media's been a huge tool for us in terms of getting our stories out into the marketplace and harvesting for new users, but also getting real-time feedback from existing users.
On the advertising side, we have a very large field sales force across all our brands both in the U.S. and globally, so we can speak to customers on a global basis. It's very interesting because there are different issues in these markets. Mobile is much bigger in Asia than in the U.S. We've learned a lot from that.
PE: How are you prioritizing new publishing initiatives?
Carrigan: It's driven by customer demand. We stay close to our customers, and when we feel a new opportunity coming, we jump on it. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but more often than not, we have been able to build great new businesses by being aggressive.
The wonderful thing about … the tech media category is that the advertisers are very experimental. We have new products that we've launched—whether it's our social media ad units, our Community Works social media products, or some of our new mobile products—that were experiments for us, but they came from a collaboration with a marketer who said, 'Well, let's go for it and see where it takes us.'
PE: What sort of internal restructuring is required to make these initiatives work?
Carrigan: We believe in focus at IDG. When we launched our ad network, we started a dedicated group, based in New York, that now has 50 employees. We have a dedicated marketing services group. We have a dedicated lead-gen business via IDG Connect. And of course, we have editors and salespeople who are dedicated to specific media brands. To be successful, you need to dedicate resources, especially if you are competing against venture-backed pure-plays.