For our third JUMP interview, we spoke with Joy Puzzo, Corporate Audience Development Director for Advanstar Communications, about some of the ways publishers can move from traditional publications to multimedia experiences in advance of her JUMP session on November 1 on “Redefining News Media Brands.”

Joy filled us in on what she does day to day (we’re tired just hearing about it!), the need for testing and why it’s so important to learn from our customer’s needs.

What is your role and what does your day-to-day job entail?

I oversee all aspects of audience development with our team across multiple properties in the automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical/science (US and UK) industries which includes 34 print, 37 digital editions, 65 e-newsletters and on-line products.

We work with the e-media/ marketing teams on website traffic and site registration as well as trade show teams on database enhancement/universe analysis and licensing and dealer expo attendee registration. Our team ensures maximization/best practices for email for the company and we are now hiring a social media agency to ensure we maximize all social platforms for our products and maximize our audiences.

Day to day it varies, is always changing and needs to be done faster and faster!  I could be working on: 

  • corporate benchmarks for the our senior management team
  • 2013 strategic planning, 
  • attendee development for Dealer Expo
  • lead generation
  • e-newletters

Basically, I am all hands in with our team at all times.

How can publishers, who are traditionally bound to print, turn their business into a multimedia one? 

It’s all about audience preference/engagement and how your customers consume content.  We have been converting what you would call our traditional print subs to e-zines, and weekly e-newsletters along with expanding our audiences overall.  We use content and see what pulls best with our audience to deliver the products they prefer.  Using your websites to learn what your audiences are doing, clicking on, spending time on can help you build new e-products.  

We all append as much demographic data back to our e-products to provide more data and to help us market smarter.  We have done a great deal expanding from print to creating e-newsletters, webinars, e-products, iPad applications, conferences and use our database as a key part of the equation and partner with companies for additional data on our audiences and the universe. 

You work across the automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical/science (US and UK) and fashion industries. What are the similarities between the audiences in these areas and where are the challenges?  

Most or our audiences are siloed but in the case of Veterinary we have 4 print products, 4 e-zines, e-newsletters, a trade show, iPad app and a vibrant website all providing content to about 65,000 veterinaries so in this area we can cross promote heavily.  Other industries like Pharmaceutical we have properties in the US and then counterparts in the UK. It’s a similar audience but different geographically so there different rules/needs.  

Advanstar has invested in a integrated database to house all of the pharmaceutical/science data/audiences (including trade shows) to see the behavior of our audiences, and response rates so we can create new products and provide leads.  

The challenges for audience development being in so many different markets are that the response rates for the groups vary. For example Dealer News has a 60% high open rate on our e-newsletters than Healthcare and we are outperforming the market in Healthcare.  Each market is different so our source mix is as well and we need to build our plans for engagement to reflect that.  

What are some ways companies can increase their online audiences?

There are a number of things you can do:

  • Review and use your content and make sure everything is tagged properly.  
  • Look to see what your audiences are engaged in and where are they spending time and then build more in this area. You should use this to tie highly read content into your e-products to drive traffic back to your websites. 
  • Put links on all media and look for partnerships/links/advertising with other websites.
  • Analyze your keywords and how deep it is before you show up in a search (1 or 6 pages deep?) 
  • Work with editorial to create LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, twitter, blogs and use videos (Videos are a great way to increase traffic as well as promoting your other products to drive additional audiences).
  • Post webinars on your websites use RSS feeds.
  • Most importantly, what is your competition doing? Make adjustments based on the results to improve what you are doing. 

There are also a lot of free tools that you can you to help you measure/tack/data below are a few which can be free and upgraded with paid features:    

  • Google analytics
  • MonitorThis
  • Hootsuite
  • FeedBurner             

We know as marketers, we should test, test and retest but what should we be testing and in a time of shrinking budgets, how do we do it most effectively? What are some tips on how to increase click-throughs and open rates?  

We made a corporate decision at Advanstar and shifted to a strategy of mailing to engaged and opt-in audiences only. Online and e-mail promotion are fast, cheap and you get immediate results, both good or bad. We are extensively testing things like creative, subject lines and content, which has resulted in an overwhelming 124 percent overall increase in open rates. Some products have shown as high as a 410 percent increase.  

In addition, over the past six months, we have reduced the amount of email distribution for our e-newsletter and e-zine products by more than 60%.  Some specific tips:

  1. Test the subject line. Try using things like “free”, personalization, using the names of big companies (i.e. Pfizer for pharmaceutical), or use the fear missing out.
  2. Try adjusting the copy length and teasers
  3. Test a signature in the closing statement
  4. Look at the time of day & day of week you blast. If you’re working in retail, you should stay away from sending anything on a Monday or Friday. 
  5. Look at what your competition is doing.

Finally, if you had a list of things marketers should do to get ahead, what would the top 3 be?

Our world has changed drastically over the past year and is changing minute by minute of every day.  If you as a marketer want to get ahead, you need to:

  • make sure you constantly reinvent yourself
  • be aware of merging trends
  • be faster that the competition, the market and push yourself outside of your comfort zone 

Most importantly, you have to know what your audience is doing, and how they consume data now and how will they tomorrow.