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Join Our Research Team at DMA 2014
Feb 07, 2008
Case Study

Reorganize for Growth: How CMP's Content Changes Boosted Market Share & Web Traffic

SUMMARY: Publishers have spent a decade adapting to the digital revolution by creating new business models and products. But the path is tricky and known to create inefficiencies, especially for traditional companies slow to react to users’ needs.

See how CMP implemented a reorganization strategy to consolidate operations and integrate print, Web and event brands. For their InformationWeek flagship publication, they increased Web traffic 17% and their market share is up 8 points.
CHALLENGE
Like other publishers, print is no longer the biggest revenue stream for tech media company CMP. In 2004, their print publications accounted for 75% of the company’s revenue; today, it’s 30%. The company spent several years aggressively buying or developing new online properties and events, but decided last year that simply adding on to its traditional business model wasn’t the most efficient strategy.

“We realized our company was still in some ways structured as a print publisher,” says CFO Scott Mozarsky. “It made a lot of sense to look at our offerings and focus things to be in a better position to deliver an integrated product set and serve our communities better.”

Mozarsky and his team members, including Scott Vaughan, VP Marketing, InformationWeek/TechWeb, knew they needed to reorganize from a traditional B-to-B publishing company into a fully-integrated print, online and events media company. But they had questions about how to meet the needs of their readers, most of whom had migrated to the Web.


CAMPAIGN
Vaughan and his team were responsible for translating the company’s reorganization strategy into specific changes for the Business Technology Group, which published three print magazines, operated dozens of specialty websites and hosted IT industry events.

Here are six major steps they took:

-> Step #1. Analyze existing products

The Business Technology Group started the process by analyzing how their audience -- IT decision makers, ranging from CIOs to developers and every level in between -- consumed information.

They looked at their customers in two principal ways:
- What types of information were most popular based on trends from their print publications, online properties and events.
- How customers engaged with different channels and products.

This analysis helped them develop a high-level information distribution strategy that broke their existing platforms into two categories:
- “Push” - What kinds of information do customers want delivered to them on an ongoing basis?
- “Pull” - What kinds of information do they want to access on their own time frame?

-> Step #2. Redefine print publications

The overall mission of the print magazines -- a central component of the team’s “push” strategy -- was redefined in an increasingly online-focused market.

They determined that a weekly magazine should help IT decision makers define their business technology objectives. “They help answer questions: What’s on my agenda? What should I pay attention to, and what are other companies doing?” says Vaughan.

They looked at their three existing print brands to determine which was in the best position to deliver this information.

- The team determined that InformationWeek had the strongest brand and biggest reach (440,000 controlled circulation), so they consolidated the editorial teams of Network Computing and Optimize with the InformationWeek team.

- Network Computing and Optimize content was incorporated into Information Week in the form of special sections and demographic editions of the magazine:
o From Network Computing - enterprise technology product reviews
o From Optimize - CIOs Uncensored, a new column series aimed at CIOs

They kept the Network Computing website as an online brand.

-> Step #3. Inform subscribers of the changes

Next, the team explained the changes to existing magazine subscribers, pointing them to other print and online resources that would provide the content they were used to seeing:

- Network Computing subscribers received email and print notices saying that the brand was no longer being published as a standalone title. Those messages listed other CMP websites where they could see product reviews and enterprise technology analysis.

- Subscribers to Optimize received email and print notices telling them their subscriptions were being converted to InformationWeek subscriptions. Those messages also told CIO-level readers they would receive special editions and pointed to online properties and blogs aimed at them.

-> Step #4. Revamp InformationWeek.com content

Online content was the centerpiece of the team’s “pull” strategy, with InformationWeek.com as the primary brand. The reorganization created new opportunities to highlight existing resources and introduce new features that users could access as needed.

Focus areas included:

- Blogs
The team consolidated new and existing blogs in a new blog channel. Successful blog personalities from existing properties were incorporated into InformationWeek.com’s blogs, and new titles were added to address specific markets and audiences, including:
o CIOs Uncensored
o Startup City

- Video
A new video section prominently displayed in the upper right corner of the InformationWeek.com homepage featured video content from several online properties. Editors for sections of the magazine, such as Startup City or CIOs Uncensored, began posting their video content to the homepage. In addition, teams from different publications and online properties started bringing cameras to CMP events to interview attendees and presenters for industry insights.

- Free industry reports
The team added a section to the homepage to provide space for a two-year-old venture: InformationWeek reports. These are six- to 10-page downloadable research reports and white papers.

Previously, those reports were hosted on their own website and not well integrated with the InformationWeek.com homepage.

- Paid, downloadable reports
The team also created space on the homepage to promote InformationWeek Analytics, 20-40 page, in-depth research reports on emerging technologies that cost between $99 and $1,299.

-> Step #5. Integrate networks

The reorganization included a new strategy for the TechWeb network -- a collection of more than a dozen sites focused on specific technology markets, such as:
o Dark Reading, an IT security site
o Byte and Switch, a storage networking site
o Intelligent Enterprise, a business intelligence site

Before the reorganization, InformationWeek was not closely integrated with the sites in the TechWeb network. The team made InformationWeek.com -- with its 2 million monthly unique visitors -- the new “front door” of the TechWeb network.

Other integration tactics included:
o An upgraded search feature that allows InformationWeek.com users to search for content across the entire TechWeb network
o A new navigation bar at the top of each site in the network that focuses on specific technology sectors or information categories
o An expanded TechWeb network with new properties

-> Step #6. Reorganize sales and marketing teams

With a new content distribution strategy, the team needed to realign its advertising sales and marketing resources. “It all started with rethinking our information distribution strategy -- what was the opportunity and what were the users’ needs?” says Vaughan. “Then came the question, “How do we organize our business for success?”

Sales and marketing personnel from separate print, online and events brands were merged into four regional teams, each with three layers:
- Sales teams to find prospects and support customers
- Field marketing teams to help sales teams uncover prospects and meet objectives.
- Program management teams to work with customers to develop and execute an advertising program across the company’s print, online or event properties.

Those regional teams offered new packages of products to potential advertisers, such as:
- Blog packages for advertisers who want to place their messages in a blog context. Advertisers have the option of appearing on all blogs across the TechWeb network or specific sites.
- Video advertising that allows advertisers to appear across the network or focus their placements on specific sites.
- Custom programs that allow advertisers to choose from any of the company’s brands to design combinations of print, online and event marketing.

The marketing team also launched a Performance Marketing Group, which allows vendors to create lead-generation programs, including white paper distribution, webcasts and live events, using TechWeb assets.


RESULTS

Eight months after CMP announced the June 2007 reorganization, Vaughan is confident they have outlined the right direction for the Business Technology Group. “The numbers and feedback bear that out, there’s no question about it.”

On the print side, InformationWeek magazine has gained nearly 8 points of market share in the B-to-B advertising market. “We gave the advertiser more options in a single brand.”

InformationWeek.com also recorded strong growth in the second half of 2007:
o Visits increased 17%
o Unique visitors increased 26.5%
o Page views increased 8.6%

The new focus on blogs and other types of content is also causing those channels to take off. The team now averages more than 600 blog posts a month, up from fewer than 100 last year, and blog traffic has increased 400%.

Likewise, InformationWeek Reports is reporting strong growth thanks to its homepage placement. In the second half of 2007:
o InformationWeek Reports pageviews grew 25%
o Visitors grew 28%
o Report downloads increased 45%


Useful links related to this article

Creative samples from InformationWeek's reorganization:
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/informationweek/study
html


InformationWeek:
http://www.informationweek.com


Network Computing:
http://www.networkcomputing.com/


TechWeb Network:
http://www.techweb.com


CMP:
http://www.cmp.com


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