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The Economist Group tapped Elena Sukacheva in August to lead its integrated marketing department as VP-strategy and client solutions. Sukacheva, previously senior director of strategy-beverages at Kraft Foods, is leveraging digital, data and events to better communicate with the Economist Group's highly coveted—and growing—audience.
“I came to Economist Group three months ago because I believe they're in a really good position right now,” she said. “It's an exciting time [at the company and in the media industry]. I compare it to the [digital revolution] of the music industry. There are lots of challenges, but also lots of opportunities.”
For example, the extensive development and enhanced integration of digital products have allowed the media company to better-target its audience.
“The emergence of technology is significant in [allowing us to] talk to our readership interactively,” Sukacheva said. “We combine our products and produce a lot of online content that we try to make compelling and engaging for our unique audience.” C-suite executives comprise one-third of the Economist's readership, while two-thirds are senior management at the director level or higher.
The Economist Group is also using data to boost its relationships with clients. The Economist Intelligence Unit, the company's business research and consulting division, collects a variety of data metrics for financial institutions, government agencies and global companies, including country-specific analyses of political-economic conditions in more than 200 markets, industry trends in six sectors, and current strategies and best practices in management, marketing and thought leadership.
“Many refer to our intelligence unit as our "best-kept secret' because it creates a separate relationship with the company,” Sukacheva said.
Extending its clientcentric marketing focus, Economist Group in October 2010 introduced its Ideas People Channel, a vertical ad network of more than 50 websites, such as those of the Christian Science Monitor and The Nation, which showcase culture and innovation, and globalization news.
The ad network, which defines its audience not by demographics but by mindset, drives advertiser brands, as well as provides direct access to 11 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S.
“We have a very fine-tuned audience. No one knows our audience better than us. That presents a great opportunity to develop highly customized solutions based on customers' currently addressed issues,” Sukacheva said.
Economist Group is also building up its events business, focusing on extending its conferences, summits and webinars into Latin America—particularly Brazil, Columbia and Mexico.
The company seems to be succeeding in growing its reach.
According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, The Economist boosted its circulation for the first half of this year by 2.6%—its 60th consecutive six-month period of growth. U.S. subscriptions rose to 844,387 this year, the most in company history, while digital subscriptions quadrupled year-over-year.
Company: Economist Group
Location: New York
Title: VP-strategy and client solutions
Big move: Building upon integrated marketing department's digital, international reach
Core responsibilities: Strategic planning, advertising, audience development, digital products, events