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Integration with Legs

Business media works best when it integrates itself into the client’s supply chain. Media companies tend to go to extremes in their approach to integration, either recycling tired “in-the-box” approaches, or latching on to the latest Internet meme. I’ve seen some examples of media integration that would get a big yawn at a strategy meeting, but have shown fantastic results.

Long ago (in the 90’s) Pulp & Paper magazine under the direction of John Pearson, developed a large business around pricing reports. They found that pretty much any information about industry pricing was like candy to their subscribers. From this base, the developed a successful executive conference portfolio. Ironically, at their conferences, they would have to have lawyers present to make sure that no pricing info was included in conference presentations, in order to satisfy anti-trust regulations.

More recently, I’ve spoken to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, who have built a strong portfolio off of what was initially an effort to develop standards for Internet advertising. In a similar vein, the Advertising Specialty Institute has developed a membership program that helps its clients locate supplier firms and to market services to end-buyers.

Integration is the antidote to disintermediation. Many media companies pin their integration hopes on complex “silver-bullet” networking schemes, but a simple approach, implemented over time, can develop strong legs.

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