Profile #32 in Our Continuing Series on Marketing Journalists
The Marketing Report
Progressive Business Publications
376 Technology Drive
Malvern, PA 19355
They do not sell ads so they do not have to reveal circ, but VanBennekom assured us that it is in the tens of thousands, typically Director to CEO level in marketing and sales.
The 8-page print newsletter is published semi-monthly (22 issues a year) A yearly subscription is $264.
-> VanBennekom’s Background:
Originally from The Netherlands, VanBennekom came over on a Fullbright Scholarship to study journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Then he crossed the border to Mexico to write for UPI (United Press International), where from the '60s to the '90s VanBennekom held just about every position at UPI including President and CEO.
Then he had a realization. “The experience at UPI convinced me there is little or no growth in general information these days. All the growth is in specialized information.” He made a concerted effort to find a company dedicated to providing more focused information.
When he came across Progressive Business Publications whose motto is “Specialization spells success,” he knew he had found his niche. Since joining the Company in 1994 he has overseen the growth from seven to newsletters to 28.
-> Current editorial coverage:
VanBennekom says the goal of The Marketing Report is to share universally useful marketing information with marketers in a wide variety of industries.
“We go after functions that similarly exist in companies across all industries,” explains VanBennekom. “We have ‘what’s working’ or ‘what’s new’ coverage in various areas, but we’re function specific, not industry specific which surprises a lot of people."
“I always tell my staff it’s their job to convey information that’s useful to both the marketer for the St. Louis Zoo and the guy who does marketing for Detroit Diesel.”
There are a few things that set the Marketing Report apart from other publications, he says. “Most people keep close enough tabs on competitors in their own industry. So it’s our editorial challenge to find novel material that people can adapt from one industry to another.”
-> What VanBennekom looks for in a story pitch:
The Marketing report is written exclusively for B2B marketers, “So, we don’t want to hear about consumer campaigns,” VanBennekom says. “When you mention marketing most people think of consumer marketing and brands like Procter & Gamble. Our research has shown that while only 20% of marketers are in consumer marketing, it’s still the area most written about. It may be the sexier side of the business but 80% of people are in B2B , the unglamorous side of marketing.”
The best pitches have “transferability.” VanBennekom explains, “We’re most interested in things we can spin for a number of different industries. It has to travel well, so if it only works for one, we probably can’t make it work.”
The Marketing Report also stays away from service product reviews and endorsement. Because the newsletter is paid subscription supported VanBennekom stresses that there is no tie in between and editorial content and advertising. “We stay away from reviews, services or gadgets. So anyone trying to pitch a certain product or service is out of luck. We’re very weary of anything that sounds like a paid ad.”
-> Best way to contact VanBennekom or his editorial staff:
Fax or an email a brief outline. Cold phone calls are not very productive.
These are really used for internal purposes only. VanBennekom notes, “The Marketing Report is composed of instructional evergreen material. There’s not a lot of news involved so ideas can be sent anytime.”
-> Submitting pre-written contributions:
It is much better to send a pitch. Editors rarely if ever use anything that is pre-written. VanBennekom says there is a very unique editorial style and it will get re-written regardless.
VanBennekom says a good way to get in to the Marketing Report is to pitch to the “The Lighter Side.” “We always welcome contributions that are funny, where people can fess up about flops or paint a caricature of a particular situation.” VanBennekom adds, “Those lighter sides are harder to come by in marketing but that’s an excellent way to get a plug in our newsletter and that section has a large and loyal following.”
-> How to become a regular columnist:
Because of the strict editorial control there are no regular columnists. However, VanBennekom notes, “There are advisors who we use regularly because they come up with good third party endorsements, truly understand what we are trying to do, or they contribute scientific studies that are eye-openers to marketers. So if someone continually knocks our socks off then they might contribute regularly.”
-> Where you can meet VanBennekom or his staff:
The editorial staff goes to the big marketing conferences. VanBennekom himself makes rare appearances at the SEMI’s and the Sales and Marketing Management Magazine conferences.
-> Favorite professional publication:
The Newsletter on Newsletters http://www.newsletterbiz.com
. “It’s just internal industry scuttlebutt, but it’s the godfather for insider industry talk.”
For relaxation, VanBennekom says he reads spy novels. “But that genre has really gone downhill since the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s hard to find a good spy novel these days.”