Building b-to-b brands

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B-to-b titles are working to offer their audiences a variety of branded products and content
B-to-b titles are working to offer their audiences a variety of branded products and content
THR is also leveraging some of the basic advantages enjoyed by most b-to-b marketers, including a well-defined and finite audience. For instance, it bucked the consumer magazine trend and grew its circulation in 2008 by sending quali­fied copies to industry guild members. These influencers need the magazine's content to make informed decisions dur­ing awards season, and once the free run of awards season is over, the magazine's audience development team e-mails, calls and mails guild members seeking con­versions to paid subscriptions.

With such a specialized audience, THR depends on an extensive cus­tomer database. Not only does the database get the magazine and other branded content to the right people at the right time, it also helps segment that information, so readers get only what is most relevant. “I think that the most important aspect of audience marketing is to develop an extraordinary database that can be sliced and diced,” says Mika. “Eventually, our readers could even customize the news and information they want to receive.”

Miller agrees, adding that many b-to-b publishers, including TechInsights, use extra content such as newsletters and whitepapers to get more people to opt in to their databases. “The more you know about the audience, the more successful you are going to be,” he says.

Once a b-to-b publisher has its data­base in order, it must go through the lengthy process of qualifying and seg­menting its leads. With a finite universe of potential readers, and a limited quali­fied circulation, each publisher wants to make sure its magazine is only going to the top decision-makers in the field.

InformationWeek's database, for exam­ple, has 100,000 qualified profession­als on hold to receive the magazine, but insists on maintaining its current 440,000 circulation.

“We could flip a switch and increase the circulation, but my perspective is to make sure I have the best 440,000 read­ers at any given time,” Siefert says.

And, if these business publishers keep evolving, providing specific, rel­evant content to readers where and when they want it, using their databases wisely, and leveraging new tech tools like whitelabel social networks, they should be able to keep their elite readers through the best and worst times.

“The edge is that we have spent years and millions upon millions of dollars cultivating that specialized and par­ticular customer that your advertiser wants,” DeMarzo says. “I can't imagine that that business will go away, because there has always been a need to reach that very specialized audience with tech­nological or strategic information about their business that they will not get from business-to-consumer media.”

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