Kansas City Hosts State of B2B Industry Luncheon: Integration as a reality

B2B editors must effectively use different media to reach their audience

Integration of different media forms is a major driver of the current B2B industry, David Doherty, group sales and marketing director for Advanstar Veterinary, said at a Feb. 8 meeting of the Kansas City chapter that discussed state of the B2B industry.

“It’s really a highly complex situation right now with all the moving parts,” Doherty said.

He said these moving parts include print, enewsletters, websites, social networking sites, mobile devices and more.

“Clearly, B2B publishing used to be a pretty simple proposition … now we are in a truly integrated media territory,” Doherty said.

Each one of these channels has unique characteristics, and current audiences want to connect with publications in whatever method is easiest.

Despite all the focus on the new media, he also said print is alive and well, citing several studies showing that readers in 2012 still prefer print. Even so, print can be made interactive through the use of QR codes, and Doherty encouraged attendees to begin to explore the use of QR codes in the future.

Doherty said other drivers of the industry include social media and mobile media forms including phones and tablets. The challenge then becomes how to make a profit off these new media forms. Advanstar was able to incorporate sponsor tweets with its own for a promotion the sponsor was having at a trade show. Others at the meeting recommended not exceeding a one-to-eight ratio of sponsored messages to regular content messages.

Jim Lucy, chief editor with Electrical Wholesaling magazine at Penton, said he has been looking into making tablet computers work for his publication. He said mobile content and tablet computers are one of the most interesting things that have happened in the industry outside of the birth of the internet.

Lucy said many publications that do use tablet computer applications charge $4 to $5 to download an entire issue and do not work on a full-year subscription basis, although there is some debate on the best approach to this. He said it is important to keep in mind that the design of magazine content on tablets has a horizontal flow. He said websites and applications such as tabtimes.com and Flipboard are good places to go to learn about how to effectively use tablets.

In other advice to stay successful in the industry, Lucy said it is important to market yourself personally and he challenges editors to launch at least one new initiative per year.

“I have always tried to be an idea person,” Lucy said.

He said corporate leaders often see editorial as an expense, and editors can often get cut when times are tough. Being known as someone whose ideas bring revenue can help with job security, but he said to make sure you are presenting your ideas in a way that isn’t interpreted as brown-nosing or worse.

Lucy said to not fear repurposing content in new initiatives, and he has found industry tutorials and survival guides have proved successful for his publication.

Overall, Doherty said he doesn’t give the recession and a bad economy as an excuse for not meeting goals.

“You have to go find the revenue…if you aren’t getting the revenue, someone else is,” Doherty said.