Opinion: Business sector will benefit from RBI’s sales move

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.

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

agencies.



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

relationship.



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

slump.



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

again.



Of course, cross-title sales and marketing were not the only forces

driving this change, but they definitely played a part in revitalising

the sector.



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

greatly.



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