They Think Its All Over - It Isn't Yet!
Peter Kirwan has noticed that the PPA only ever spouts good news about the b2b industry. You will remember that we ranted about this when they produced their guff research a month or so back. Actually, I am not as despondent about the future as some readers of this blog might be led to believe - I am simply despondent about the failure of most business media execs to honestly appraise the situation and take some meaningful action.
In a cyclical downturn business publishers take a number of actions. They include making redundancies, stopping discretionary spend on marketing and training, squeezing bonuses, reducing controlled circulations, cutting editorial pagination, reducing paper weights, conducting a procurement review and getting cautious about deveopment spend. This always works providing you believe that its a cycle - that what goes around comes a round. I used to be cheerful in a recession, safe in the knowledge that after the bust comes the boom - but not this time.
Business magazines have been declining during the recent boom (read back the last two years of posts on this blog if you don't believe me) and that decline is now accelerating. Does this mean that business decision makers no longer need business information? No.
Does this mean that suppliers of business services no longer need to spend money marketing to their customers? No.
So this is an opportunity to think about the needs of customers and readers and service them with some new and innovative approaches. Here are some questions business publishers might like to answer in getting to a conclusion about what to do (I think I know the answers but I am not sure I should tell you!)
1) What do you have to do to a magazine to make a business reader pick it up in a web world?
2) What tools and data and information can I provide that will become part of the workflow of readers/users.
3) What are my advertisers spending their marketing bucks on, how do they know it works and how can I provide a more efferctive means of influencing their customers?
4) What would my strategic plan look like if I pursued my customers needs rather than the financial health of my magazine?