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Friday, February 22, 2008

Anton on B2B's Deadly Sins 

Hanley Wood's CEO, Frank Anton, outlined b2b media's 10 deadly sins during an address at the Folio: Publishing Summit:

Since I didn't have the opportunity to attend the Summit (but I will be at the Niche Magazine Conference next week with a client in Austin, Texas), I would have liked some more detail in Folio:'s own coverage of the speech. (UPDATE: See complete video of the speech, below). But basically, here are the sins:

"...underperformance, cowardice, technophobia, inferiority, complacency, coziness, stinginess, cluelessness, disorganization and dullness...."

All are certainly deadly sins in the best of times, and completely fatal during times of technological change and potential economic downturn.

Here's Frank's speech--definitely worth 30 minutes of your time:

For more on this, see this Folio: video of an interview with Frank. Toward the end, he make this point pretty explicitly:

By the way, nice work to Folio: on the video itself, and the easy link to the code so that I could post the video on this blog. And disclosure: My company proudly counts Hanley Wood as one of our most important clients, and I think Frank is a very smart guy, so I'm biased.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

For Sale: Reed Business Information 

Rafat Ali is reporting that Reed Elsevier intends to sell its $1.76 billion Reed Business Information unit to reduce "exposure to advertising markets and cyclicality."

Interestingly, the company intends to keep its Reed Exhibitions unit, which is also a cyclical business--though that cycle has been riding high for some time--and which really doesn't fit with the company's purported focus on "subscription-based information and workflow solutions."

In my limited experience, RBI and Reed Exhibitions were the ultimate models for the dangers of b2b "siloization." The two companies worked together only fitfully, and often, I'm told, found it easier to do business and partnerships with outside firms (and competitors) than with themselves. In an era driven by the integrated media solution buzz-phrase, Reed did a less-than-stellar job integrating its print, online and trade show/conference solutions, and I'm sure they left business and profits on the table.

But given the complete separation of the business units, it should be easy to split RBI off, leaving a new buyer with the opportunity (and need) to add trade show properties in order to offer a complete media solution. And perhaps this represents an opportunity for Reed Exhibitions to broaden its media offerings online and--dare I say?--in print, to better serve its customers.

Disclosure: GRID Media did some consulting work for Reed Exhibitions a few years ago, completely unrelated to any issues of integrated media solutions.


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