IEEE (formerly the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) faced a dilemma. The association’s print classifieds had declined as a revenue stream over the years from $1.5 million to about $246,000 in 2006. The association knew its classifieds future was online, but facing competition from massive job sites such as Monster, IEEE also realized it had to bring something else to the table.
"Our advantage is our focus," said publisher Jim Vick at the recent ABM Top Management meeting. "We recently had the resume of a person who is only one of 10 in the world who do that particular job." That exclusivity is paying off: IEEE will earn more than $1 million from online classifieds in 2006 and is projecting $1.7 million for 2007.
Sometimes a Web product needs revamping too. Like many publishers, IEEE enjoyed early success with Webinars (earning $132,000 off its first one) but saw Webinar revenue subsequently drop as the market became oversaturated. IEEE needed to change its expectations when it came to Webinars, according to Vick. Instead of hosting a limited number and charging a premium, IEEE will now simply run several more Webinars at lower price points. In 2006, the company ran four Webinars generating about $20,000 each; in 2007 IEEE plans to run between 10 to 12. "We think we’ve figured it out," says Vick.