Tag Archives: incisive media

Let’s go back to the 90’s…

A quick story (please bear with me here  friends…)

Imagine it is 1997

Back in 1997 I was running a small marketing team for a global B2B publishing company.

We were developing online versions of our print publications & starting to experiment further with e-mail marketing.

Web sites were very unsophisticated – tending to be little more than facsimile versions of our magazines. There was very little interaction with readers and we really treated the Internet just as a distribution channel rather than a great disruptor of business models.

We had little idea of the emerging advertising/sponsorship models. Pricing decisions were agreed without any science or bundled in with physical products. User data was rarely gathered or intelligently used.

Remind you of anything?

Let’s fast-forward to today. We have a new and fast growing development in media consumption. The mobile web.

With the increasing penetration of smartphones, tablets, eReaders, apps and mobile enabled websites, all the rules are changing again.

Media companies are facing the same challenges that they faced in the 90’s and I know from personal experience that many are going to be taken by surprise by the speed at which things are moving.

All too often significant decisions about mobile are being left to tech teams or rushed into as part of a ‘me too’ stampede to get a press release out about ‘our latest app’.

STOP. You need to spend some proper time setting your mobile strategy..

Rob Grimshaw, the Managing Director of the FT’s digital operations said recently that he expected 50% of the FT’s digital readers to access content via a mobile device within the next 2 years.

That’s a fundamental shift in consumption habits and really shows that the mobile web has arrived.

The commercial realities associated with this shift in consumption mean that everyone in media needs to be involved in mobile product development – tech; marketing; sales and content creators.

Set the right strategy. Right now.

On June 14th The Media Briefing will be holding our second major conference.

Mobile Media Strategies takes place at The King’s Fund in London’s West End and will hear from some of the most innovative companies in the mobile field.

Companies including: Thomson Reuters * BBC Magazines * Guardian News & Media * The Economist * Incisive Media * Telegraph Media Group * Screen Digest * comScore * Microsoft * YUDU Media * Bonnier * DK Books * BSkyB * ImpulsePay & MobileTech.

There’s a fantastic line up of attendees already confirmed (here’s a link to our advance delegate list) & we have limited places still available.

Register today

The mobile media marketplace is developing so quickly. There are huge opportunities for the companies that can stay ahead of the curve. Register for Mobile Media Strategies today and we’ll help you on your way.


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SIPA Website Conversion Secrets from the Experts workshop – Monday April 19th, London

I wanted to give a quick plug for a Specialised Information Publishers Association (SIPA) event that I will be hosting in London on Monday April 19th.

This half-day workshop is designed to give publishers a range of practical tips on how to get their websites to convert better – whether that be registrations, subscriptions or e-commerce. We’ve got a great line up including:

  • Graham MacFadyen of the Financial Times, who will explain how the FT maintains its astonishing conversion rate for trialists. You’ll get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how their marketers transition occasional readers to registered readers, and then paid subscribers
  • Karl Blanks, co-founder of Conversion Rate Experts, will explain the specific strategies you can implement straight away to increase profit from your website visitors, and show the power of video in converting visitors to customers
  • Daniel Rowles at Art Review and Graham Ruddick from NEC Group on the key stats you need to monitor on your analytics reports to segment your customers and improve your conversion rates
  • Simon Nixon and Jason Buck at Econsultancy how to design your website with your user in mind to increase conversion and ROI
  • Jon Bentley of Incisive Media will explain the methods Incisive are using to successfully up sell and cross-sell their website customers
  • Angus Phillipson from WORKSsitebuilder will draw all the strands of the morning together, using practical case studies from his experience as both a publisher and a supplier

For a full programme and biographies of our knowledgeable speakers, click here.

Companies sending delegates include the following: BNA International * Business Monitor International * CityWire Holdings * CRU Group * Electric Word plc * Euromoney Institutional Investor * Global Water Intelligence * Guardian News & Media * Incisive Media * LexisNexis * Melcrum Publishing * Newsquest Specialist Media * Report Buyer

We only have 8 places left, so if you want to come please e-mail Karen Hindle as soon as possible.

The workshop will take place on Monday 19 April between 09.30 and 13.00, followed by a complimentary networking lunch.

The venue is the Novotel London Tower Bridge, Pepys Street, London EC3N 2NR. Price for SIPA members: £147 + VAT; non-members £247 + VAT.

Book your place today – call Karen on 020 8288 7415, or email: uksipa@btconnect.com.

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Specialist publishers: 3 great conferences coming up in May, June and July.

2477140811_ab022c2a345Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 18 months it cannot have escaped your attention that big changes are afoot in the media world. Changes that have been accelerated by the current recession but most of which would have been taking place anyway. Some traditional revenue lines are under significant pressure, business models require reinvention and technological developments are changing the way our customers both consume information and market their products and services.

Against this backdrop should we all put on a tin hat and hide under the nearest desk?

Instead of adopting the Private Frazer approach I strongly suggest that you get out there, meet your peers and learn from others in the industry. On this basis I would like to recommend 3 upcoming events – all of which I have had some involvement in.

The E-Publishing Innovation Forum. Marriott Regents Park, London. 19-20 May.

This 2 day event is organised by my old division of Incisive Media in conjunction with Outsell. Last year it was one of my favourite events of the year and I wrote about some of the presentations I found particularly enlightening. For 2009 Laura and Lorna have again put together a great programme. Featuring speakers including:

  • David Craig, Chief Strategy Officer, Thomson Reuters
  • Juian Sambles, Head of Audience Development, Telegraph Media Group
  • Robert Brown, Media Business Director, Exalead
  • Ben Edwards, Exec VP, The Economist Group and Publisher of Economist.com
  • Ashley Friedlein, CEO, EConsultancy
  • Tim Weller, Group CEO, Incisive Media
  • Neil Thackray, Thackray Media
  • Nick Barnett, MD, Phorm
  • Jonathan MacDonald, Senior Consultant, Mobile Marketing, OgilvyOne
  • Graeme McCracken, COO, Reed Business Search
  • Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton

… and many more influential speakers. Click on the title link above to see the full programme.

33rd Specialized Information Publishers Conference. Mayflower Hotel, Washington D.C. 31st May – June 2nd.

Entitled ‘Deal with the Now. Navigate the Future’ the SIPA Washington Conference looks set to be a cracker. While I have never been to a Washington conference I am the current chair of SIPA UK and sit on the main board of directors. This year I was asked to programme the online marketing track and am very much looking forward to attending. There’s a great line up over the 3 days including keynotes from:

  • Jay Berkowitz, CEO of Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing
  • Andrew Madden, Director of Strategic Partner Development, Google
  • Jeff Pence, Farm Journal Media’s President of its television and newsletter businesses
  • Mark Ragan, CEO, Ragan Communications

alongside track presentations from:

  • Amy Africa, Eight by Eight
  • Matt Bailey, SiteLogic Marketing
  • Bill Barnes, Enquiro Search Solutions
  • Bob Bly, Bly Copywriting
  • Sean Brooks, TechTarget
  • Kathlene Collins, Inside Higher Ed
  • Nan Dawkins, Serengeti Communications
  • Bill Dugan, The Pohly Company
  • Sarah Rotman Epps, Forrester Research
  • William Fridrich, Wm Fridrich Design
  • Herndon Hasty, Range Online Media
  • Craig Huey, Creative Direct Marketing Group
  • Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR
  • Mark Johnson, Copywriter
  • Robert Lerose, Lerose Copywriting
  • Sandra Niehaus, Closed Loop Marketing
  • Don Nicholas, Mequoda Group
  • Alan Rosenspan, A.Rosenspan & Associates
  • Jim Tucker, Integrating Marketing Technology
  • David Yale, Controlbeaters

and many more over the course of the 3 days.

UK Specialised Information Publishers Association Annual Congress. Tower Hotel, London. 7-8 July.

I finish my tenure as chair of SIPA UK at the end of June and am delighted to hand over to Nick Laight of Canonbury Publishing. Nick’s first job will be to chair the SIPA UK Annual Congress and he has already been working hard to put together a great programme.

One of the sessions I am particularly looking forward to attending is a keynote presentation by Bill Bonner of Agora Publications Inc. Bill’s presentation is entitled “A perfect swarm: total integration marketing” and from what I understand it will outline the concept of combining marketing and editorial pieces to come out incredibly fast in response to topical events in the markets publishers serve. The aim is that within 2 hours of a story breaking pieces are published and marketing promotions are in the hands of prospects – both increasing the topicality and response rates of the promotion and ensuring that the publisher receives the full SEO benefits of their efforts. I can’t wait to hear it.

With roundtables, discussion forums, and tracks on marketing, publishing and content the SIPA UK Congress is without doubt my favourite of the year. Full details are on the link above.

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Digital editions – trying to solve the wrong business media problem


Recently I’ve become quite a fan of my ex-colleague, Bill Pollak, the CEO of Incisive Media North America.

Bill has recently ‘got’ social media & is both twittering and blogging profusely.

Along with the rest of the business media sector Bill is clearly looking at the future of his product lines and wrestling with the challenges they face. He is doing this in a very open way and with the aim of both engaging the staff of Incisive Media’s North American operations & reaching out to the industry he serves. I applaud his efforts & hope they permeate the rest of the company.

However, Bill’s post of the 28th November entitled “Capitalizing of Digital Edition Technology” tells me that there’s still a long way to go as the old ALM business faces up to a digital world.

In the post Bill says:

“If advertising declines, I believe publishers will be pushed to find ways to cut the costs of those publications, and that almost certainly means manufacturing and distribution costs. Turning a print publication into a digital one is an obvious solution, and one which we need to all be looking at with an eye toward how we can make the transition work in our favor.”

He then goes on to highlight a recent edition of American Lawyer which managed to embed video from an awards dinner into its digital edition pages & urges his teams to look at ways of selling this to advertisers.

With the greatest respect Bill you’re sending everyone off on a wild goose chase here. Digital editions like those facilitated by Zinio, Olive, NxtBook Media, Texterity etc. are a massive red herring & here’s why:

1) Recipients don’t read them. I could stop this post here. Just think about average open rates for e-mails these days let alone the people who cannot be bothered with re-formating and re-sizing something that wasn’t designed to be read on screen.

2) The digital version of a magazine is called a website – or occasionally a PDF. Concentrate on getting these offerings right rather than tinkering around with something that is designed to look like a magazine but isn’t printed.

3) Engagement with a media property is about much more than having a video pop up from a page. It’s about commenting, sharing, bookmarking, forwarding… how do you do this within a digital edition?

I understand why publishers are tempted to go down the digital edition route – quite apart from the suppliers being all over the trade associations like ABM & PPA.

Let’s see, I can charge the same amount (or even add a premium) to my advertisers and not have to incur any printing and distribution costs, hmmm. What’s not to like?

But the reality is that digital magazines are a gimmick, and not a very practical gimmick at that. They are trying to solve a problem by ignoring the original nature of that problem – the fact that advertisers, in the main, don’t see the value in spending money with your controlled circulation title. The old business case doesn’t make sense any more.

So, my advice to your publishing teams is this. If your magazine is not making money and you’re giving it away for free then cut back the circulation to the people who your advertisers really still want to reach – and make sure those readers are actively engaged with your brand.

If you still cannot make money then don’t pretend to be a print magazine online. Drop the legacy print title and start again.


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Credit crunched

OK – so yesterday I officially left Incisive Media & not entirely of my own volition…

If truth be told I really left a couple of weeks ago and have been swanning around an island in the South-West of France enjoying half term with the girls; but I was still on the payroll so I could legitimately treat it as an holiday.

No more.

My P45 arrived in the post yesterday. My last monthly salary cheque is in the bank & I am now looking for a interesting new job.

I feel no bitterness towards the company. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent at Risk Waters and then Incisive. I have learnt a lot and met some fantastic people. I wish everyone who is still there all the best  but now it is time to move on.

Never having been made redundant before I also now think back to times when I have sat on the other side of the table.

Over the course of my career I have had many difficult conversations with good & enthusiastic employees who, generally through no fault of their own, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their industry sector might have been struggling or the company might have taken on a lot of debt at an inopportune time – all of which led to their job suddenly being ‘at risk’.

Those conversations are some of the hardest I have ever had to have but I always said that, while things might seem terrible now, I bet you in 6 months time that you look back and say it was the best thing that ever happened.

I guess I’ll get a chance to see first hand if I have been spinning people a line for all these years…


(Photograph by Murray_Fortesque on Flickr)


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