Friday, March 21, 2008

Design creativity in the b2b world

How many times have you been frustrated at your magazine's lack of an art budget? I know that I have grumbled about this many times over the years. More often than not, my magazine is at the mercy of using photographs submitted by engineers working on a system they designed. (Certainly not the stuff an artist dreams of!) We're lucky to have a fantastic art director, and he always makes the most out of what we give him, bless his heart.

Yesterday, winners were announced in the first ever TABPI Design Challenge, a project developed to showcase some of the fantastic artistic talent that we have in the b2b world. But just as importantly, it is geared to get design professionals in our industry engaged in discussions about best practices.

This first challenge envisioned an art director for the fictional Concrete Times magazine caught in a proverbial crossfire. The magazine publisher wants the focus of the April 2008 cover to showcase the fact that it is the magazine's 40th anniversary issue. An important event, to be sure. But the editor-in-chief feels that the main feature story, focusing on the first ever "Top 100 Leaders" ranking, is more important. Of course, there is little or no art budget. So, what to do? TABPI asked b2b design professionals across the globe to weigh in with their solutions to this dilemma by submitting their own cover proposal.

I find the results of this Challenge to be fascinating. You can see the winner as well as five honorable mentions at There are also comments from the judges on both the positives and negatives that each solution brings. I invite you to look at the winners, forward the link to your art director or designer, and start a discussion as to how your team would have handled this issue. Which of the submitted solutions do you feel worked best? Would any of them have worked or not worked specifically for your magazine's audience?

Talking about design with your art director shouldn't be forgotten in these days of increased competition and shorter deadlines. Don't forget how crucial design is to a successful b2b magazine property.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Proven Sex Tips Results Improve Immediately!

Thought I'd pass these along -- magazine consultant John Brady has collected a set of what he calls "power words" that he says magazines of all kinds can use to raise their readership rates.

At least some of these would work just as well for B2B e-newsletters and blogs (although probably not in the combination I used in the title, as they'd probably get you spamblocked -- actually, I hope this post didn't get spamblocked for any of our email subscribers!)
Here are 32 proven magazine marketing power words (source: Curtis Circulation Co.). Use them in heads and coverlines when possible:

PS. Someone has pointed out that sex is not included in this list. That is one of the editorial mysteries of all time. Another reader noted that tips is not on the list either. For the sake of expediency, therefore, let's add sex tips to the mix.

Any that he missed? Other than the always popular "sex tips" (I try to limit my use to every third day), does this type of come-on work as well in B2B?

If you're looking for some suggestions, check out the keyword suggestion tool at Google AdWords or at SEOBook.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Webcast On How To Do Webcasts = Meta-Training!

From the fine folks at the national org comes the latest in our 2008 Webinar series: Taking Your Webcasts to the Next Level.

The webinar will teach you what it takes to produce a compelling content model and profitable business model for webcasts (a fast-growing revenue source in many a B2B brand's product portfolio). Content will include how to:

• pick a compelling topic and present it for maximum impact.

• involve print and on-line staff editors in content development and presentation of webinars.

• manage the "church-state" divide and address common ethical issues when conducting webinars.

• package and market online events for potential viewers and sponsors.

• leverage webinars for related editorial content, including virtual trade shows, podcasts and e-newsletters.

Details are below, reservation form is at, a huge discount is available for members so sign up today!

When: Friday, March 21st, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST.

Where: Your computer. A web conference dial-in number and access code is required, and will be provided to registrants in a subsequent e-mail.

How to attend: To reserve your place, submit a completed reservation form (attached) by March 17th to or 201-221-8655 (fax). Questions may be directed to Steve Roll at 703-341-5926. You may also RSVP online at

Charge: This webinar is $10.00 for all ASBPE members and $35.00 for non-members.

About the Presenters

KRISTIN BEAULIEU is the Vice President of Client Services at InXpo, a leading provider of virtual online communities and tradeshows. She works with leading publishers such as Nielsen, The Wall Street Journal, CMP, IDG, Ziff Davis Enterprise and others to strategize their event businesses.

Kristin was formerly the Vice President of Digital Events for the Consumer Small Business Division of Ziff Davis Media. She managed two online event divisions for Ziff Davis: eSeminars and PCMagCast. eSeminars was launched in 2000 and grew steadily to become a highly profitable division of Ziff Davis with year-over-year exponential growth in revenue and events. In January 2006, PCMagCast was launched as the dedicated online event division of PCMagazine.

PCMagCast received both Gold and Bronze 2006 Folio Fame Awards for "Best Online Events of the Year" for its "Security and Mobility Virtual Tradeshow" and the webcast, "Selecting and Setting up an HDTV Set". Additionally eSeminars received the 2005 Folio Fame Gold Award for "Best Online Event" for its Security Solutions Tradeshow "Protect Yourself Against Attacks."

ELLIOT MARKOWITZ is Editorial Director of Nielsen Business Media Webcasts and Virtual Events and is responsible for the content of all web seminars across Nielsen's publications and brands. He is also Editorial Director of Nielsen's Small Business Resource Center and

Previously, Markowitz was Editorial Director of Ziff Davis Media eSeminars, where he helped build the company's eSeminar business and launched its award-winning Virtual Tradeshow concept. Markowitz is an 18-year publishing veteran and before Ziff Davis, he was Editor of Hotel Business magazine and HotelJournal. Before that he was Editor-in-Chief of CRM Magazine and the website and related live events. Before CRM Magazine, he was Business Editor at TechTV, responsible for helping to manage the TV station's website as well as conducting live on-air interviews with key industry executives.