This year's Media Power 50 selections reflect the changing ways that b2b companies are getting their marketing messages out to customers and prospects.
While the selections include mainstream venues, such as The Wall Street Journal and "Meet the Press," as well as more niche products, such as Federal Computer Week and Supermarket News, all the properties profiled here share a common goal: to better serve their customers in an increasingly digital age without compromising the integrity of their brands.
The growing migration of readers and advertisers to online venues has forced media outlets to fundamentally alter their thinking about how to go to market.
Take our Top 10 media properties. The New York Times, a Media Power 50 perennial, early last year dismantled its sales silos and is now urging marketers to buy more integrated ad packages that can target a narrow audience.
"There's an enormous amount of unique [advertising] programs happening and a steadier drumbeat in that direction," said Denise Warren, senior VP-chief advertising officer of the New York Times Media Group, which includes The New York Times and NYTimes.com. She added that she has seen a surge of b2b advertising "across the board" in recent months.
The Times' downtown rival, The Wall Street Journal, has kept its print and online sales operations separate and relies on Dow Jones Integrated Solutions to facilitate integrated ad sales. The Journal's comprehensive redesign, unveiled in January, was undertaken to fuel integrated selling. The print product now runs much more analysis, while spot news coverage runs online.
Dow Jones' message to b2b advertisers is clear: For branding efforts, go to print; for lead generation and building richer relationships with customers, online is best.
Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at Federal Express Corp., said that improving print-online alignment is fast becoming "the point of entry" for media brands.
Teri Mollison, group publisher at Penton Media's Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Metals Group, said the Internet has changed the b2b media sales equation for the foreseeable future by shifting buying power to customers.
"In the old days—five years ago—sales, marketing and media consisted of: `We talk; you listen,' " Mollison said. "Marketing was easy, and publishers controlled the whole information process."
An on-demand environment
In the current climate, publishers have to be much more cognizant of which efforts—and investments—are going to keep existing customers satisfied while bringing new ones into the fold. B2b media brands "have to think of using tools that customers will want to access on their time," Mollison said. "It's an on-demand environment."
Vickie Szombathy, VP-media director at ad agency Starlink, whose clients include Caterpillar and Heidelberg Druckmaschinen, said she recently attended an advertising industry forum at which a researcher mentioned three items publishers must focus on to respond to their clients' shifting demands for more online marketing.
"The guy said: video, audio and text. Well, I get that," said Szombathy, who is chairwoman of American Business Media's Media Advisory Committee as well as chairwoman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies` b2b media committee. "What's missing from that statement is what publishers need to add to that, which is the personality and passion of the brand and how they can bring their connection with readers to my clients' customers."
A survey conducted last year by Harris Interactive on behalf of ABM found that different media are perceived by executives as having different strengths. The telephone survey, which took the pulse of 28 executives from 21 business categories, found that 57% of respondents made or recommended an ad buy in b2b magazines because such publications evoke "trust," while 47% said they made or recommended a buy on a b2b Web site because of "immediacy."
The survey also found that executives spent two hours a week last year reading b2b magazines, compared with two hours and 15 minutes in 2001. In contrast, executives spent two hours and 33 minutes per week last year reading b2b Web sites, compared with two hours and 46 minutes per week in 2001.
"The Web has changed the point of view" for media brands, Mollison said, "and we have to ask ourselves: `Where is the content coming from?' "
2007 MEDIA POWER 50
|No. 1 The Wall Street Journal||No. 2 Google||No. 3 Forbes.com|
|No. 4 The New York Times||No. 5. CNET Networks||No. 6. Meet the Press|
|No. 7 USA Today||No. 8 BusinessWeek||No. 9 ESPN 'SportsCenter'|
|No. 10 Yahoo!|
|Top Newspapers||Top Business Magazines||Top IT Magazines|
|Top Trades||Top Web Sites||Top Broadcast|