Startup Stories: Launching an Award-Winner
Then there's CMO.
The latest print rollout from IDG's CXO Media Inc. launched in September 2004, and has already received an unusual amount of critical praise from an industry often as skeptical of as it is excited by new launches. In June, CMO was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Business Publication Editors and took seven ASBPE awards in all, including three golds for best new Web publication, overall Web publication and new publication design. In the same month, CMO took home five of the Trade Association Business Publication International's so-called Tabbie awards, adding to its collection of hardware that already included a merit award from the Society of Publication Designers and an honorable mention in MarketingSherpa's 10 Best Blogs for 2005 for its Collateral Damage blog. And in November, CMO snagged a handful of Folio: awards, including an Ozzie for best new magazine design, overall design and a silver Eddie for editorial excellence.
But there's more to launching a magazine than winning awards. Like many magazines, the first step to launching CMO was seeing an information gap in the market.
"All the publications out there were sort of tactically focused," says publisher Stephen Twombly, "but were in particular categories like direct marketing, media planner focused or even meetings and events. The CMO [chief marketing officer] really has purview over all of this. And we thought there was an opportunity for an editorial play, obviously a circulation opportunity, and an ad market that would sustain the publication."
A core "SWAT" team, including Twombly and editor Rob O'Regan, was assembled, and went out to do due diligence in assessing the broad, $1 trillion market, and more importantly, what part of it they wanted to reach. "We wanted to reach large marketing budgets, say $15 million and above, and key title sets, director-level marketing executives and above," says Twombly. "And big, $100 million companies."
CMO launched with a controlled circulation of 25,000;and one that reflected the high-end research strategy and was clearly defined. "We invested quite a lot of money in circulation;publishing is not for the faint of purse," says Twombly. Rather than grow circulation, Twombly's goal is to maintain the quantity while enhancing the quality. "Currently our circ represents a spending power of $240 billion," he says. "But that can always grow."
The magazine's ad base is growing too. Ad pages are up about 11 percent since March, including 62 percent for its one-year anniversary issue. Twombly says the key was to have as many categories as possible represented at the outset. Since its launch, the magazine has had over 60 accounts from a wide range of marketer categories.
It's this kind of broad-based thinking that's led CMO to leverage its brand;print, online and in-person;on a global scale. In September, the company launched versions of CMO in China (38,000 circ) and Poland (9,000), as well as its CMO Perspectives conferences. And its Web site;launched initially as a marketing vehicle;quickly transitioned into a robust content resource, featuring blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, Webcasts, e-newsletters and related Web-only content. It averages over 33,000 unique visitors per month and is growing.
CMO has had the luxury of shared resources. "We have shared circulation and events staffs at CXO," says Twombly. "If you were an independent publisher, it would be hard to do all of these [brand extensions] in year one."
Still, the current business is print heavy, and will likely continue to be. "Seventy-five percent of our revenue is through print, with online and events making up the rest," he says, noting that the number will likely be 60 percent before too long. But racking up so many awards does seem to give Twombly the impression that readers still enjoy a printed product. "We want to maintain that. We're trending toward online, not rushing that way."
||| TAKEAWAYS |||
Have a Multi-tiered Approach to Everything
- From research to marketing to editorial, CMO utilized its expertise in the marketplace;both in print and online;to leverage its brand. Hire an Editor Who Knows the Industry
- CMO editor-in-chief Rob O'Regan was a 12-year vet of eWeek. Launch a Blog
- Depending on your market;and your willingness to allow for employee experimentation;launch a blog to compliment your Web product. CMO's well-received Collateral Damage blog was an honorable mention in MarketingSherpa's 10 Best Blogs for 2005.