I’ve just completed my first year as ABM’s head of content and programming. Over the past year, I’ve been impressed with the passion, expertise and creativity demonstrated by both ABM members and the b-to-b community at large. I’m excited by the transformation we’ve seen.
However, one area that I think the b-to-b community needs to improve is willingness to learn from experts outside our immediate markets. Too often we hear, “We’re not a tech company, that doesn’t apply to us” or “We’re a smaller publisher, how are we supposed to offer what the big guys do?”
The fact is the issues we’re facing as an industry and the solutions we’re implementing are far more similar than they are disparate. There are no cookie cutter solutions but the advantage of b-to-b media is that we’ve never been about “advertising versus paid content” or “events versus digital”—we’ve always served our audiences in a variety of ways.
ABM’s Advanced Leadership Program, which preps managers and executives for the next stage in their career, is currently underway at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. This year’s program is sold out, and what makes it successful, in addition to Medill faculty and top-level b-to-b executives sharing their expertise, is bringing together b-to-b’s future leaders from a variety of different companies and backgrounds — editors, salespeople, digital media, audience development, etc. — in an intensive program in which they can learn from one another.
To that end, ABM is encouraging and facilitating peer-to-peer networking and education via its committees and councils. Among the projects underway for 2013:
—ABM’s Digital Media Council is compiling a series of case studies on b-to-b media efforts in mobile media. The goal is to provide actionable information on how b-to-b companies are developing mobile solutions, what advertisers want from those solutions and operational metrics from mobile efforts.
—ABM’s Marketing Services Committee is developing a white paper dedicated to how media companies can develop an official marketing services program that’s fully integrated in the media company portfolio, including business models, technologies, assets and resources and deployment strategies.
—ABM’s Editorial Subcommittee on Metrics this week wraps up a survey on how business-to-business media and information companies measure and analyze reader usage of their digital content. While this project focuses on website metrics to start, the goal is to expand is to establish benchmarks and best practices for online content channels.
—ABM’s Audience Development Committee is also concluding a survey dedicated to the effectiveness of e-mail for b-to-b content delivery and customer outreach, with recommendations on how to improve that effectiveness.
The results of these efforts will be made available to all ABM members. But as we finalize these projects and launch new ones, I encourage you to make yourselves heard. Share your expertise. Ask for help when you need it. The goal isn’t to create more work for you — ABM works for you and we’ll handle project execution. But we want to make your voices heard.
If there is a specific council or committee you’d like to join, contact Debbie Humphreys at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is a particular topic you have questions about or want to explore, contact me at email@example.com. We look forward to working with you in 2013.
By Matt Kinsman