Reed Business Information’s decision to create a centralised
display team to sell across its 50 trade titles should prove a
tremendous fillip for the often underrated business magazine sector.
It is not the most ingenious move - many ad directors will wonder why it
didn’t happen ten years ago. Neither is it unique; VNU has had a central
sales team for years. But it is a development that will help raise the
profile of the business publishing sector among big advertisers and
While it might be a prejudice on all our parts, it is easy to understand
why blue-chip advertisers and agencies do not usually turn to Poultry
World when they are scheduling their ads. It is too niche, too
parochial, too small - and for those of us who don’t care about
chickens, it is also, frankly, boring.
But look at the readership offered by Poultry World when presented in
conjunction with Airline Business, Doctor, Employer’s Law, Motor Trader
and Plant Manager’s Journal and you find a large, wealthy, predominantly
male audience, with whom the publisher has an incredibly good
By packaging its trade titles, making them easily accessible to agencies
through a single buying point, and offering readership figures that
rival those of the larger regional and smaller national papers, RBI will
undoubtedly attract the big-name advertisers.
Hopefully, RBI’s decision will also have a positive effect on the image
of the business magazine sector as a whole. Anyone who doubts this is
possible might like to look at the change in the fortunes of the
regional press in recent years.
In the late 80s and early 90s, regional newspapers experienced a
Circulations slipped, advertising revenues fell and several big players
panicked and jumped ship. Yet by the late 90s, everyone was talking
about a resurgence in the regional press and ad revenues were climbing
Of course, cross-title sales and marketing were not the only forces
driving this change, but they definitely played a part in revitalising
Business magazine publishers might also learn from the way in which the
regional press has marketed itself in recent years. Rather than the
rival publishers trying to score points off each other, they have
understood the need for a multilateral approach that promotes the sector
as a whole, rather than just the individual titles within it.
Business publishers like RBI and VNU seem to understand this principle.
Others, such as Miller Freeman and Emap Business, appear less willing to
open up. This is a shame because pooling knowledge and resources on a
company and even an industry level could benefit business magazines