Tell me why so many B2B brands, particularly those based around specialist subjects, continue to be successful…
It’s really about community and helping readers to do their jobs better. When they wake up first thing in the morning, they need more than just the water cooler perspective. This is what makes brands like Adweek very, very strong and why our audience continues to grow. For example, we’re seeing the evolution of CMOs into CMTOs – chief marketing technology officers. The role that Adweek plays is that of educator – writing about what’s happening and, more importantly, what it means. This is why we’re increasingly focused on the education component.
How integral is that sense of community and education to advertising and revenues in general?
It’s absolutely essential. Today’s sophisticated advertiser has gone beyond banner and print ads and instead is leveraging thought leadership to interact with Adweek’s audiences. Custom content is a powerful opportunity for brands, especially technology companies, to educate audiences about changes in the market. At Adweek, one of our most successful products is webinars. The numbers just blow my mind every time I look at them. These webinars cover everything from programmatic advertising to how to successfully market on Pinterest, and they’re all about helping brands marketers to better understand where to invest marketing time and dollars.
Does that make you particularly protective of the quality of those events – making sure webinars add genuine value for attendees rather than simply securing the revenue of the advertiser? Otherwise you risk diluting the brand?
We value our community and our lists, and our content marketing team spends a lot of time making sure the content meets our high standards and delivers value. We do 50-60 of them a year and have only seen demand increase, both from audiences and customers.
How else are you enhancing that offering, beyond what others in the same space are doing?
We’re adding enhancements to help better qualify and score audiences and help the customer understand how the webinar impacted an attendees’ likelihood of buying. To that end, we’ve added more touch points for attendees to help shape the content ahead of time, as well as short surveys to get feedback post event. We want to give much better feedback to the advertiser, including around how they move in the marketplace.
Special interest has often had a heavy focus on print. But the things you are talking about are digital. How have you managed that evolution to multiplatform?
Print tends to be more for the CEO and the CMO, whereas the younger media buyers are finding us on digital. But all of the products are evolving. From a print point of view, we’re shifting focus to broader topics. So we might say, ‘hey, this month is going to be the month all about Internet of Things’ or ‘this month may be the month all about data or AR or virtual reality’, and we will really focus on adding depth and insights in our magazine.
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What direction does Adweek go from here? What emerging trends are you focused on right now?
We are focused on three main trends right now.
• The first is events. We’ve not traditionally been an event business, but we’ve got plans on that front. In terms of the value chain, events are really where it’s at. Traditionally, media companies have been very successful in branding and they’ve been good at lead gen, but we want to get to the point where we’re facilitating a handshake. So we’re going to do that through thought leadership events as well as through what we call hosted-buyer events, which we’re very excited about it.
• The second thing is gaining a deeper understanding of our audience and first-party data, which I think is something that all media companies are suffering from a lack of. We’re making a big investment in account-based marketing and data capabilities to tie together digital and events so that we can say ‘hey, we’re going to invite these people to get in the room with you and really pull it all together across channels’.
• The third piece for us is really around subject matter expertise. The world is getting more complex and there are more things happening in the adtech/martech space. We’re restructuring to put forth a deeper voice, a voice that has more analysis, and a voice that can really bring the leaders together through a combination of journalism and industry experts, which goes back to that community idea.
I’m excited to be a part of a team and culture that is embracing the changes in media to better serve its community.
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