A Lesson in Execu-Speak 101 at F+W
A year apart, and in two different management regimes, two executives use remarkably similar language in describing remarkably similar priorities.
When Colin Ungaro [pictured, left] came on board as president of the magazine division of F+W Publication in April 2007, he was brimming with ideas and priorities in e-media, events and more. He predicted significant growth for the 60-title company and described a business with a strong bond to its readers, poised for great things.
He left the company in December 2007. Now David Nussbaum [above, right] has come on as CEO. In an interview this week, Nussbaum was brimming with ideas and priorities in e-media, events and more. He predicted significant growth for the company and described a business with a strong bond to its readers, poised for great things.
He sounded very much like Ungaro did in April 2007. In a way, itâs not surprising. This is an industry where executives often work off the same script when it comes to major announcements. Has anyoneâanyoneânot heard these kinds of phrases?
â˘ âWe are closing (selling) these properties to focus more on our core strengths ...â
â˘ âIâm delighted to be forming this partnership with [fill in the blank] and its talented team. With their strong positions in their served markets...â
â˘ âWeâre thrilled to have an executive of [fill in the blank]âs rare level of experience and skill joining us as we aggressively build out our [fill in the blank] businessâŚâ
â˘ âThe variance to budget was a timing issue related to [fill in the blank] ...â
Some excerpts from Ungaroâs Q+A then, and Nussbaumâs Q+A now:
On what b-to-b and consumer-enthusiast media have in common ...
Ungaro 2007: âItâs serving a particular audience, which is what you do in b-to-b. There are a lot similarities between the two.
Nussbaum 2008: âI see b-to-b and enthusiast media as very similar. We serve highly defined markets. We have very interested and passionate communities. We are very vertical in our approach.â
On their plans for e-media expansion at F+W ...
Ungaro 2007: âWe already have the infrastructure in place to grow online. The infrastructure was in place before I got here. We have an interactive media department. So what Iâm doing is building out what we already have.â
Nussbaum 2008: âF+W started aggressively building its e-media infrastructure about a year ago. In June 2007 it hired a top-notch talented leader in John Lerner. There is a lot to work with here from a talent perspective. And the current budget calls for a further meaningful investment in people, technology, and services to continue that investment.â
On new product development ...
Ungaro 2007: âWeâll be rolling out new products at a very fast pace.â
Nussbaum 2008: âThere is an opportunity for the growth rate to be excellent. We think there are a myriad of new product ideas that need to be brought to market. Frankly, I took this job because there is such a deep and natural path for new revenue.â
On the strength of F+W events ...
Ungaro 2007: âEvents are a very profitable part of our business. It helps us to serve our audiences much better and, I would say, weâve only just scratched the surface in the market. Weâre very bullish about the business and the growth we can achieve.â
Nussbaum 2008: âWe are also going to be focused on event launches. For example, the annual How Design conference, which consistently experiences sell-out capacity, has given life to two additional conferences to better serve our customers. Both new conferences are well-attended, without sacrificing the success of the how conference.â
On serving enthusiasts ...
Ungaro 2007: "Weâre serving different needs in different markets, but the common thread is that weâre serving enthusiasts that want to get very specific information in whatever they are interested in.â
Nussbaum 2008: ââProsumersâ are willing to pay for information and products that are their passions and hobbies, and thus are committed to their media offerings and brands. There is a sacred pact between the media brand and its community to provide networking, information, data, and help in deepening the readersâ knowledge about the subject.â
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