‘Very Few Bright Lights’ in B-to-B in ‘08
A report from day two of ABM’s Top Management Meeting.
CHICAGO—John Suhler, president and founding general partner of Veronis Suhler Stevenson,
began his luncheon keynote on day two of American Business Media’s Top Management meeting here by saying that all feedback he’s received about the current state of the industry has been “suck, suck, suck!” He said that all ABM attendees “should feel in good company—there are very few bright lights in this environment,” a statement that drew both laughter and positive acknowledgement.
Despite his description, Suhler was still able to provide
analysis on how to leverage brand equity based on media’s past thirty years.
“Media spend has outgrown GDP by a couple of hundred basis points,” he said. “So
long term, generally broad-base media spend is outpacing economic growth
consistently over the many recessions and resets that we’ve had.”
Suhler briefly discussed VSS’ b-to-b media investments (VSS
is an investor in FOLIO: parent company Red 7 Media) and gave ABM members a
quick look at a select section of its portfolio, suggesting that b-to-b media
companies bridge the growing gap through opportunities with targeted business
Mark DiMassimo, CEO and creative director of DiMassimo
Goldstein, talked about the industry from a marketing perspective. “As someone
who sells innovation and help clients face reality, I count on denial and
underestimation of change,” he said. “I expect most institutions that we work
with to get it wrong.”
Of advertisers, he assured attendees, 64 percent continue to
view business media as important. “User generated content is also important,
especially in vertical markets,” he added, citing feedback from surveyed advertisers.
During Tuesday’s first session, IDG CEO Bob Carrigan
introduced Booz & Company panelists to speak about the results of Booz
& Company’s survey, “A Roadmap for Profitable Growth.” Booz partners Harry
Hawkes Jr. and Matt Egol discussed how b-to-b and information companies are
transforming their capabilities to drive profitable growth, citing two
predominant paths that business media companies can take: marketers and end
users. While many companies do one or the other well, the study confirmed that
few, if any, are able to excel at both.