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Tom Bureau on the power of special interest

The focus was on consumer relationships during Tom Bureau’s speech today at the FIPP World Congress in Toronto. Bureau, the CEO of UK-based Immediate Media Co, said its focus is on becoming the umbilical cord for their audiences and ensuring they are appealing to the right market at the right time.

Tom Bureau ()

Although Immediate Media Co is still a month shy of its four-year birthday, it has made a lot of headway in the marketplace. Bureau said it has shifted its focus from being a publication company to becoming a special interest content and platform company.

“We want to focus on world class content,” said Bureau. “But we don’t think that’s enough. We think you have to be a world class platform company as well.”

With this mind-set shift, it has been able to push its already successful publications into multifaceted industries. Using its wedding publications as an example, Bureau showed the majority of sales in regards to weddings did not come from content, but instead from products that this content led brides to.

Bureau said Immediate Media decided to shift its strategy by investing in Hitched – a wedding marketplace that connects supply-to-demand. This way, people can read the content and right away go and purchase the items that they’ve been told about.

Bureau said that it is the best way to be successful, if you offer the content but are also offering a means for the audience to buy what the content talks about, then you will be more profitable.

To achieve growth, Bureau said it’s important to focus on three things; relevance to the audience, paying attention to new opportunities and developing new capabilities and skills. This includes shifting from a solely print-based model towards a more interactive model.

“We want to signal internally and externally that we’re not focusing on the print model,” said Bureau. “But instead the power of special interest, we want to focus on what people are passionate about, we want to matter to them, and we want to live with them and create deep levels of engagement.”

Bureau is optimistic – in the past three years the company has increased its profits and staff, and has begun to bring in different types of employees, which Bureau says is very important. Bringing on-board staff with retail and online backgrounds and a vast knowledge of content delivery among other skills, has allowed them to improve their versatility and help to strengthen their spot in the changing industry.

“We’ve created an environment where our people can be their best,” said Bureau. “We want them to be excited and we want to help develop them.”

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