How to Kill the Competition

The New York Times (subscription req’d) ran a story that will, at the very least, hurt the morale of a competitor and more likely put it out of business. In Monday’s paper, Brad Stone wrote that falling advertising is “threatening the survival of Business 2.0” magazine. The article says Business 2.0’s paid circulation of 623,000 was roughly the same as the previous year, but that its advertising was down 38 percent through July 9, 2007. Mr. Stone quotes current and former Time Inc. employees who said the company made a mistake by combining the advertising sales teams of its major business and finance publications. “That often turned Business 2.0 into an after-thought, as Time’s sales representatives stopped pitching the distinct appeal and audience of Business 2.0.” 

It’s tough to be in sales when the industry you are in is struggling, and print business and financial publications fall under that category. Since advertising sales are down at most Time business magazines, the executive in charge got the ax. He was replaced by the individual in charge of, who now has a virtually impossible job. Was it the consolidation of the sales force that caused the drop in advertising sales (and the fact that there were fewer feet on the street), or was it the drop in overall business-to-business technology advertising? The publisher of The Wall Street Journal blames the drop in ad revenues for this quarter on fewer ads from just three advertisers: Cisco, Apple and IBM. Was the Dow Jones sales force concentrating on other products? If the new Time unit executive wants to survive, he will have to make changes, which will probably mean having the sales force sell fewer products.

In a recent Kelsey Report Advisory, “Multi-Product Sales: Publishers Still Favor One-Channel Approach,” my colleague Michael Taylor wrote that in the Yellow Pages business, where sales is being asked to carry multiple products from Internet to Web sites, “training is key to multi-product selling. … Reps also need to know how to target likely advertisers for each product [and] position all the products as a complete solution.”

When I was in sales at Johnson & Johnson, my sales bag included a number of first-aid products and dental products such as Band-Aid bandages, first-aid kits, dental floss and the ill-fated Micron mouthwash. Those were volume products compared with back plasters, Red Cross cotton balls and lamb’s wool, but we were expected to meet our quota in every product. If managers wanted extra sales in, say, adhesive tape, they would give us some sort of spiff that would encourage us to sell more adhesive tape, and that product would get extra time and push. One of the great things about carrying this line of products was that they weren’t very cyclical or even secular. Growth came from population changes and price increases, brand extensions and the occasional product breakthrough. Management in packaged goods companies did not believe much in product life cycles.

I don’t know much about how Time used to sell advertising in its various business products. I also have no sense of how much money was saved by sales force consolidation or whether each of these products is profitable. But it does seem to me that a publication with a paid circulation of more than 600,000 ought to be able to make money. If Time is going to give up on its smaller business and financial products, it probably should get rid of all but one or two magazines as soon as possible and put the rest online where ads can be sold for their value to customers.

Still, it doesn’t seem right that the business section of The New York Times should place a huge cloud over the head of Business 2.0. Expect to see advertising plummet when competitors show copies of the article to potential advertisers.


This Post Has 223 Comments

  1. Pingback: Search Engine News » Local Thunder: Enhance ‘Click Thru Experience of Local Ads

  2. Pingback: Search Engine News » Annenberg Summit for Community Sites Focuses on HyperLocal Commerce

  3. Pingback: Google Announces Real-Time Search and Google Goggles | StayOnSearch

  4. Pingback: Search Engine News » Twitter Added to Citysearch SMB Profiles

  5. Pingback: Colliding with the Social Web » AOL Set to Stand on its Own and Unveil New Identity

  6. Totnes Agency

    This info’s are really helpful and does encourage me to build my own arena and to be a online marketing expert also someday. This site thought me a lot on building how it would be. I would also like to share this strategy for you. It also helps me a lot on my marketing strategies and through my business. you can visit:

    Hope we could exchange ideas soon about search engine marketing soon
    Search Engine Marketing Agency

  7. Rate md

    I think its a really encouraging process to get on the top of competitors the real time analysis and right decisions can make this happen.

  8. Get found in Google

    Print Advertising id dying. Online media online advertising is the new yellow pages and Video is taking it all by storm.
    Crush your competition and Get Found in Google With a Website Expansion from

  9. paypercall101

    When sales is asked to carry multiple products, there is always a conflict. Personal bias plays a huge role and that is not always easy to administer. Especially when selling one product clearly cannibalizes another. I’ve read loads of sales books and most of them say, ‘sell one thing at a time – if you try selling too much at once, you won’t sell anything’. I’ve seen that to be true on the ground and this article is a good illustration of those wise words.

  10. Content directory

    This is nice post.All this post is interesting and lovely . I like this all content. Thank,s to the writer for writing this post.
    Thank you very useful information. really liked your site.
    Content directory

  11. michaeljonesben

    taxi anjou, tout adapté à vos besoins Pour un service de taxi sécuritaire, rapide et courtois dans la région de Montréal, fiez-vous à l’excellence de nos services. Notre offre s’étend à bien plus qu’un simple service de taxi. Nous offrons du transport privé pour écoliers, de la livraison de colis, un service de navette à l’aéroport, le déverrouillage de portes et le survoltage en cas de panne.

    Votre transport de choix dans l’Est de Montréal
    En tant que coopérative, nos chauffeurs sont qualifiés et ont à cœur votre satisfaction et votre confiance. Nous sommes là pour répondre à tous vos besoins en transport! Nous sommes les spécialistes en taxi Montréal Est, taxi Pointe-aux-Trembles, taxi Montréal Nord, taxi Rivière-des-Prairies, taxi Anjou et taxi St-Léonard.

  12. Scarlet Lencher

    Dear John,
    Very interesting article, I am thrilled that someone is following the flow of marketing trends. I am looking into marketing for a small local business (as a favor) and I was wondering what you thought about pricing, online versus in magazines or mailers. I did not know if I should ask an investment accountants in ajax company, or if there are resources for free that can compare pricing for me.
    Please let me know,
    Thanks so much!

  13. Tyson Cartier

    Thanks for the info. Thank goodness for dental care in Langley. My son would not have white teeth without them. Seriously, he brushes his teeth four times a week, sometimes less. He would have yellow teeth or no teeth without them. It’s disgusting.

  14. boyd garth

    i hope that money is great, so how do transmission repair edmonton alberta with capital hokey dokey

  15. bafalbums

    In addressing the report, Rice’s agent, Todd France, told the Carroll [url=]Tie Domi Leafs Jersey[/url] County (Md.) Times: aybe it because people assume since Ray has led the NFL in yards from scrimmage since becoming a full-time starter in 2009 that he should be [url=]Authentic Duncan Keith Jersey[/url] the highest-paid running back in the NFL. Regardless of where it came from or who said what, I won comment on any specifics of our negotiations except to say my [url=–louis-blues/brian-elliott-jersey/]Brian Elliott Jersey[/url] focus is to have an amicable negotiation process that results in a long-term contract for our client.?

  16. bleancape

    2011 STATS Rec37 Yds455 TD4 Avg12.3 Long29 YAC185 The tight end that played in Carolina last season, and New Orleans the three seasons before that, got into [url=]Gary Payton Throwback Jersey[/url] a Twitter war with former New York Giants teammate Armani Toomer on Thursday. It started after reports in the New York media that Shockey had [url=]Joe Johnson Swingman Jersey[/url] let the Giants know he wanted to return to them after [url=]Kevin Durant Jersey[/url] forcing them to trade him in 2008. That prompted an unfriendly tweet from Toomer.

  17. loffarozy

    Matching up with Tony G.: The Packers [url=]Authentic Andrew Ladd Jersey[/url] held Falcons receiver Roddy White to a manageable five receptions in the Week 12 meeting, but tight end Tony Gonzalez had a big game. Gonzalez caught all six passes thrown [url=]Authentic Kyle Okposo Jersey[/url] his way, although the NFL would later agree one should have been ruled incomplete, and scored on a 4-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. According to Football Outsiders’ calculations, the Packers ranked No. 22 in the NFL during the regular season in defending tight [url=]Brad Marchand Bruins Jersey[/url] ends. That makes Gonzalez a key to this game.

  18. dradrarly

    2. The Jaguars traded a 2010 second-round pick [url=]Cliff Avril Jersey[/url] in order to draft Derek Cox in the third round. He’s been banged up and has not played in a preseason game yet, but he was impressive [url=]Cliff Avril Womens Jersey[/url] early. Brian Williams has not had a great preseason as the second corner, so once Cox is ready he could overtake Williams and bump him to the nickel job. Will Cox, who will play Thursday against Washington, and new strong safety Sean Considine [url=]Cliff Avril Seahawks Jersey[/url] be enough to make a big difference in the secondary? Can free safety Reggie Nelson rebound from a bad second year and become the guy the team envisioned when it drafted him in the first round?

  19. Pingback: A Million Ways to Die in the West 2014 Watch Free

  20. Pingback: kill shot cheats

  21. Pingback: citygate

  22. Pingback: My little caravan craft workshops for kids and teens Melbourne

  23. Pingback: sony voucher code

Leave a Reply