Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Computer Weekly closes and a personal memory

So if i wrote a piece every time a former giant B2B print title closes - this would be a weekly update, but i can't let this one pass without mention. I started my career on its arch rival Computing magazine (and eventually became publisher). Both titles ran 100+pages of job ads every week - ratecard £10K a page - Yield about £5K. Lovely money!!

But please allow me a little personal reminiscence as the memories flood back.

The most important meeting of my career thus far was when i was publisher of Computing and was with European MD of VNU its owner - i had to present a 5 year plan (5 years!!!! who does that anymore) for the title. And had prepared 56 slide(56 slides, i know...) masterpiece full of research, plans, spin offs. Unfortunately Slide 5 was the projected recruitment ad revenue for next 5 years which resembled a ski jump without the little lift at the end. We never got to the other 51 slides. As i showed him that £20 million of revenue was not and could not be made up (i was not responsible for online). To paraphrase the Labour manifesto of 1983 , it was the longest career suicide note in history. My stratospheric rise in company suddenly halted and i think i resigned about 4 months later without a job to go to and joined 33, and a few years later set up UK's first digital ad agency.

I am not sure if you had told me then that CW print would close within 10 years - not even i would have believed you but this industry transformation seems to be getting faster and faster. And the thing is - it is so difficult for those inside the establishment media to see it or more importantly to react to it, its such a potentially horrible scenario that it leads to inertia with brief bouts of panic thrown in. And i think that point still applies to many media owners out there now.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

print rec ad market to return......

Someone mentioned that they firmly believed that the print classified (jobs,cars,homes) would return due to dissatisfaction with quality and quantity of response etc.
And then someone said so on twitter (my former golf buddy @alconcalcia) too
My first thought was they were joking but apparently not.
now the solution to quantity and quality response problems are

Clear employer/job offering and compelling reason to apply
Good copy - keywords / seo etc
Plan and buy the Relevant and best media
'attractive' advertising
Simple response mechanism
And great process/screening/resp mgmt

Now by definition these are broad topics that will differ and the solutions need to fit each client, but give me the above or let me create the above and your responss problems will disappear.

Now to use response as a reason to go back in time 5 years is to like reacting to some repairs that need doing to your car by ditching it and getting a horse instead.

To be fair it would mean i made a hell of an entrance when i arrived at my next meeting.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Service vs Growth - or Service and Growth

Speaking at a conference tomorrow (Caterer/recruitment/social media) and organised a networking event last thursday www.omexperts.co.uk/events (a good friend of the biz Gill Davies really organised it but we sponsored it.)Now the problem is we meet lots of great people - many of whom are lovely enough to want to discuss digital/PPC/Social and what they can do/should be doing better.

However - we are a service led business - we have to deliver on our promises. So how do you prioritise new business??

Answer - its just growing pains i guess and a good problem to have but we have made a very clear decision to split new biz and delivery. what we won't do is compromise on our service standards as it has been in our DNA since Day 1 and if i am being mercenary about it - clients recommending us to friends, peers etc has been by far and away our best source of growth.