If you can’t market something properly, you won’t sell it. That’s true in any business, but for the media it’s a very particular challenge as marketing messages become crowded out by a deluge of rival media channels.
In business publishing, however, the message can be clearer: you have the information and access to the right people and companies that your audience needs. Getting a company to shout loud enough about that (and intelligently too) is something Louise White, group head of marketing at Incisive Media, does for a living. So I went along to see her and find out more – check out the video interview above.
One thing White is keen on – and it’s worth considering this amid inflated talk of the demise of paper-based publishing – is printed magazines. She intends to grow print subscriptions by 10 percent next year, for example. But more fundamentally, she considers the printed weekly mag the best marketing tool there is – what else is guaranteed to land on a chief executive’s desk 50 times a year? Given the encroaching email inbox tyranny from which we all suffer – there is in fact something quite disruptive about a non-digital magazine, and White makes that point well.
Also, when I ask about the importance of social media, she says the take-up has been slow both within Incisive and its customers. Investment bankers and lawyers, for example, are not known to be the most early technologically adopting of professions, so there’s a time-lag there in terms of behaviour. Social media is no doubt important, but for some audiences the always-on 21st century approach to publishing is still very alien indeed.
And lastly, it seems a really big trend in business publishing in 2011 will be the corporate sales market. Just as Rob Grimshaw of FT.com told me company-specific deals was a key part of that business’s plans, White has grown Incisive’s corporate sales by 75 percent in 2010 year-on-year and aims to increase the current case of corporate subs by 100 percent in 2011.