SRDS, which successfully revamped its consumer-magazine product lineup this year, is implementing a similar plan with its b-to-b business for 2006, dramatically scaling back the frequency of its print directory and adding a variety of online products and services.
In the reformulated b-to-b product line, the monthly directory reduces frequency to quarterly, adds color throughout and enriches the content of listings. The SRDS Web site becomes the hub of the business, and online listings and searches will be based not on an alphabetical index but on the amount a publisher-client spends with SRDS.
Also part of the revamped b-to-b product mix is a new online library of cover images and logos for media planners to use in their presentations to their customers. A totally new print product will be introduced as well: A series of ad guides intended for top management in agencies and at brands that will be segmented into four vertical markets. These products, called SRDS Business Connections, will be split by topic, in business and technology, healthcare, manufacturing and construction and business services.
There are two factors that drove the b-to-b reformulation, says SRDS CEO Tom Drouillard. First the shift by SRDS customers;agencies and brand managers;to a multiple-media format. Use of the consumer magazine advertising source online by the top five agencies increased by 212 percent from 2001 to 20004, Drouillard says, to about 9,000 monthly logins. And among all users, the use of SRDS online has increased substantially, but more than three-quarters of users use SRDS in both print and online.
“We are keeping our eye on the ball that matters and that is usage,” Drouillard says. “That just happens to be in both mediums for us at this point in time. What our clients want is less frequency in print and they want more online functionality;more ways to sort data and compare titles.”
Successful Consumer Version
The other factor is the successful launch of the reformulated consumer-magazine advertising source. Since the January 1 rollout, SRDS has sold 500 new advertising programs, many of them new customers and others upgrades. In September 2004 by contrast, SRDS;which has about 2,000 listings;had about 100 active advertising programs. The dollar volume associated with those programs has increased as well, but not fivefold, says Steve Davis, SRDS group publisher. And subscriber renewals have been running at 100 percent, Drouillard says.
A third consideration was pricing. Drouillard notes that SRDS pricing is based on an 86-year-old print directory. “Customers said they wanted value-based pricing,” he says. “They want to make sure they have exposure across the whole product line at a price they can afford. They want exclusive sponsorship opportunities, they want to generate awareness of their integrated-marketing opportunities and they want to see that come into the basic listing area.”
Other key changes in the b-to-b product are the inclusion of integrated-marketing package information in the print listings and direct links to individual-magazine subscriber research from the SRDS online listings. The ability to control where they appear in search results was important to b-to-b clients. Says Drouillard, “Publishers want to show up in the results after someone does a search in our products. Publishers who spend the most come up first in our results. There was some concern that they may not like this, but more often than not, the people who showed up first tended to be the leaders.”
The b-to-b reformulation schedule includes the launch of an enriched online channel on January 1, 2006, followed by the print-directory rollout in March and the vertical Connections top-management guides in the summer of 2006.
click here to download the Tracking SRDS Product Usage chart (pdf)