Jack Griffin on the four new building blocks of b-to-b

AC2012JackGriffinJack Griffin is best known as a leader in consumer media, having served as president of Meredith’s National Media Group and CEO of Time Inc. But Griffin, who will be giving a keynote at the upcoming ABM Annual Conference on The Four New Building Blocks of B-to-B, actually began his media career in 1982 as a reporter for a supermarket trade publication called The Griffin Report, and his media philosophy has always been heavily influenced by b-to-b.

“That was an incredible experience covering an industry and learning how to understand an industry sector,” Griffin told ABM in a recent video interview. “I think that b-to-b mentality of knowing the customer and the customer’s business, translates to b-to-c in very direct ways that sometimes aren’t obvious. When I got to Meredith for the second time in 2004, Meredith was very focused on the home category — we were in the midst of a tremendous housing boom but it was clear that it wouldn’t last. We reviewed our position as primarily a print provider and took a b-to-b approach to build Meredith out to a vertically-oriented, surround the customer-approach.”

At ABM’s Annual Conference on April 29, Griffin (now founder of Empirical Media Partners) will talk about the Four Building Blocks of B-to-B and how they aid the “surround the customer approach” of b-to-b. “The customer is now the center of the realm,” said Griffin. “We need to look to our customers, the ability to aggregate that customer, understand that customer through data and ultimately deliver compelling content and solutions as the core organizing principles of what this business is all about.”

The four building blocks offer a framework for how to think about your business going forward, according to Griffin. They include:

  1. Audience and data round that audience.
  2. Content and the brands around that content.
  3. The unique convening and community power of b-to-b.
  4. The intersection of social media and mobile. According to Griffin, data is the new media.

“Everything is measurable—the end-user will essentially tell you what he or she is intending to do. Many best-in-class companies are building this business model around the ability to interact with the customer, to get that data, aggregate that data, and to fuse it into their business models and the way they create content. Think about what data does on the buy side. Data gives the advertiser the ability to place message where they want it at any given time. This isn’t a new concept for marketers but it is a new approach for media companies.”

By Matt Kinsman


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