Members Reveal Keys in Getting Emails and Conversions

Listening to Jennifer Kern, Gale Media’s director of digital strategy and marketing analytics, speak in an SIIA webinar this week, made me think of a Halloween book by Jerry Seinfeld that I read to kids a couple days earlier. Throughout the book, Seinfeld reflects on the one thought that pervaded his little self’s day: “Get candy.”

Similarly, Kern (pictured here) said that one thought stands behind everything Gale Media does: Get conversions. Fortunately, in these days of content marketing being as commonplace as Madison Bumgarner shutout innings, this leads to strong content across both their free pages and Modern Distribution Management (MDM) premium sites.

Kern’s presentation was one of three excellent and actionable ones under the tagline, How to Turn Your Website Into a Direct Content Sales Channel/e-Marketplace. Andy Kowl, senior VP, publishing strategy for ePublishing, and Dexter Steis, executive publisher for Natural Gas Intelligence, presented the other two. The webinar can be accessed by members as an on-demand video at this link.

Kern’s key takeaway in converting visitors is simply, “ask in multiple places,” and they are quite successful. To build their list, they use:

- a “popover/lightbox” on almost all pages to new visitors. Interestingly, they tested an old-fashioned looking popover they were using—an envelope was the only graphic—vs. a more updated one that showed off their many newsletters. Old-fashioned won by 25%. (Test!)
- callouts at the bottom of free blog posts and articles—their #1 conversion point—and other popular places on the website. They vary the looks.
- links to free newsletter in nav bars.
- an “interrupter” that peeks out from the lower right corner of blogs and free articles.
- an offer on LinkedIn (they got 125 new emails from offering a special report there).

To convert visitors to the paying MDM premium, they do:

- email campaigns offering 10% discounts.
- callouts in the free newsletter and on the homepage.
- testimonial ads.
- links in the blogs. The editors are all big on linking to premium content in their articles.
- an MDM Preview page where a couple paragraphs of a story are shown. A video callout of president Tom Gale on the right sidebar does very well there.
- a separate Premium landing page. Once visitors get there, they are followed by an MDM Premium ad as they travel the web.

Steis has worked at NGI for 18 years; they have 7 B2B newsletters—3 of which are dailies—and 16 full-time people, 2/3 of whom drive content. Their revenue is up 14% YTD—65% of the dollars coming from natural gas data.

Their old website had no focus; it simply showed a lot of small headlines. The new one integrates charts and graphs—and gas price data—in addition to giving visitors free tastes and much clearer links to the subscription products. “We put in the metered paywall October 2013,” Steis said. “At first, people got five free drinks—we wanted to err on the side of being more generous. But we have since peeled that back to 2 free drinks, and on your second click you’re prompted to get a free trial.”

His 5 takeaways:

1. leveraging Content to build traffic is easier than you think.
2. ancillary products (sales) and data sales are natural outcomes of more content and traffic.
3. better website with stickier content has increased renewals. (80% thus far in 2014 versus 65% in 2013)
4. Google News has helped drive traffic both directly and indirectly (from Google Search).
5. More traffic + metered paywall = fewer trials and modesty higher newsletter sales, but ancillary and data driving sales up 14% YTD.

Kowl opened the webinar with a good sampling of pages from members ePublishing works with. He made the argument for free content—without it visitors won’t return and search engines will bring in fewer prospects. “Don’t fear free,” he said mantra-like. He encouraged:

- providing a seamless buying experience.
- building a powerful audience database.
- focus on your responsive site design.

In the always-valuable Q&A, Kern suggested using Google Consumer Surveys to put a survey on your site. “We use just 3 questions. ‘What was your purpose for coming here? Were you able to accomplish what you wanted? If not, why not? If not why?’ It’s important to try to get qualitative feedback. Why did they bounce?”

Again, the webinar can be accessed by members as an on-demand video at this link.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Two Member Publishers Take on Exciting New Roles

After much ‘soul-searching,’ Sinkinson moves to consulting role

When it came across our screens a couple weeks ago that longtime SIPA member and highly respected publisher of Infocom Group, Jim Sinkinson, decided to close down his company and start a consulting business, there were questions.

After all, in my piece last week on on-demand training, I quoted Bob Coleman as saying, “[In reality] we are no longer a publishing company. We’re now a training company.” Molly Lindblom thrived at several big publishers before starting Business Transformations. And Lesley Ellen Harris of sold her newsletter a few months ago to focus on her successful courses, books and training.

Is publishers shedding their publications a new trend? (Maybe.) Are publications still the best way to get information across? (They’re one way.)

But in the case of Sinkinson (pictured here), it was something else. “I loved my business and building the Bulldog brand, and loved going to work every day,” he told me on the phone from Oakland, Calif., last week. His website was called Bulldog Reporter—he graduated from the University of Redlands (the Bulldogs)—and it advised on PR and corporate communications. “On the other hand, I was doing it for 35 years; that’s a long run. There were things that I wanted to do that I was not able to—and a lot of things that I had enough of doing—like managing a staff of 15 people. That can be trying and frustrating.

“The favorite things I did in my Infocom life were marketing, strategic planning and new product development. Those are what I do best and enjoy the most. So I always had an eye on returning to consulting.” He has done training and teaching for select clients over the years and enjoyed it.

“I just thought, ‘When do I get to do what I really like to do—and do well?’ It still came after a lot of soul searching. But I just thought that this would be a great time. So I will be happy to get on a plane and go visit clients or work from my new office [in his home in Oakland Hills].”

Sinkinson will board a plane in less than two weeks to attend the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) in Miami Beach where he will present the session, How to Write Killer Promo Copy. He will be doing it as president of Fired Up! Marketing. (His copy writing days go back to the Phillips Publishing International era, now Access Intelligence.)

For all the good vibrations, Sinkinson did say that it would be naïve to think that the current climate didn’t affect his decision. “It’s a tough market, and times change,” he said. “We [were down to] 1 daily digital newsletter and had stopped publishing most of the others. We were doing a lot of webinars. But what was once a very very strong market, we found it weakening.

“Certainly finding new models will continually be a challenge for people in our business. I’m delighted that Bob [Coleman] has found training to be successful and is getting good traction in his marketplace. It won’t work in every marketplace.” He said there needs to be heavy pressure in your industry for training courses to be effective.

Sinkinson is in the process of selling “a substantial number of the [Infocom] assets.” He can be reached at

Sexton takes over highly regarded Subscription Site Insider

Also in Miami Beach for BIMS Nov. 10-12 will be Kathy Greenler Sexton, the new CEO and publisher of another company SIPA members might recognize, Subscription Site Insider. Authority Media Network—where Sexton is managing partner—acquired the highly respected business earlier this month from Russell Perkins’ InfoCommerce Group.

Most recently, Sexton led the SIIA Content Division during a period of growth as its VP & general manager. “I am honored to lead Subscription Site Insider,” she said in a statement. “When Anne Holland founded [it] in 2009, its mission was to help paid content, membership and subscription content sites be more profitable.

“This mission is more important now than ever as our members face a myriad of new issues, including new technology, mobile applications, legal issues, and the need to adopt fast-evolving best practices in recurring billing, marketing and sales. It’s our job to help members find new revenue streams, grow profits and expand existing revenue sources.”

Sexton wrote to me in an email that she is “excited to get started in my new role, as well as work with our editor-at-large Minal Bopaiah and our new team of contributors. In addition, we plan to keep working with Russell Perkins (and the entire InfoCommerce Group team) as our strategic partner moving forward.”

She can be reached at

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Three Innovative Companies Transforming the Information Industry to Present at SIIA Previews

SIIA today announced three companies to present  at the annual SIIA Previews held at the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) November 10-12 in Miami, Florida. SIIA Previews seeks the most innovative companies currently transforming the information industry. Selected companies are given the opportunity to present at BIMS to over 350 leaders from the business information and media industries. SIIA Preview companies present to secure funding, strategic partnerships, new customers or even an exit.

The 2014 SIIA Previews presenting companies are:

  • EduTone Corporation
    EduTone provides cutting edge, cloud-based Single Sign-On (SSO) services designed for the education enterprise to save budgets, free up valuable instructional time, and relieve the technical and administrative challenges of today’s web-enabled world. EduTone licenses white-label storefronts of its cloud hosted multi-tenant platform to large Fortune 500 technology and education services organizations and markets the platform under the “Global Grid for Learning” brand direct to K-12 education organizations globally. Projected to grow its SSO platform adoption to 10,000+ schools with over 5 million end-users in the next 12 months.
  • is a verified business data platform that identifies consumers in sensitive buying cycle stages across 30+ service provider categories. Lowerfees’ unique “SMB Push” technology matches small businesses with publisher traffic to create new and more effective advertising solutions. The lowerfees data is comprised of over 30 local small business categories in all 50 states and continues to grow through our proprietary data acquisition methodology and active participation from individual small business owners. This verified small business contains the most important market real-time data: pricing.
  •  Social-3 
    Social-3 analyses customer data in a new and innovative way. Through social network analysis influencers are identified among your customers. The influencers can be a target for a marketing campaign to reduce churn or optimize revenue. We also help organizations manage critical aspects of data through data-mining technologies and expertise that provide cost effective marketing campaigns and prevent customer churn. It offers complete enterprise solutions in several industry sectors, including: telecommunications, retail, banking, insurance.

“Over the years we have seen some of the most innovative companies present at SIIA Previews,” said Larry Schwartz, Newstex President and Chairman of SIIA Previews. “We are looking forward to integrating SIPA and ABM companies–as they are now part of SIIA — into the Previews and taking the program to Miami.”

As a result of presenting at Previews several alumni have received investments or have been acquired. Over the years SIIA has featured over 100 companies during the Previews program at SIIA Conferences.

For a complete schedule of events, visit: Updates in advance of the event are available using the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #BIMS14.

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Tips for Doing Mobile Well (and a Little Classic TV)

Ahhh, mobile. I was trying to think this morning what that vanilla response reminded me of. And then it hit me! (And reminded me of my age, particularly on my birthday.)

The wonderful old TV show M*A*S*H. Hawkeye is trying to help Radar sound intelligent when a woman he likes talks classical music.

HAWKEYE: If she brings him up, you just smile and say, “Ahhh Bach.”
RADAR: Ahhh Bach.
HAWKEYE: Smile a little bit.
(So Radar tries it for the woman and she asks, “What’s that mean, ‘Ah Bach’?”)
RADAR: Just that, “Ah, Bach.”
HAWKEYE: I think once you’ve said that you’ve said it all.

I think we still have a tendency to say, “Ahhh mobile,” yet everything we read points to the need for action. The New York Times hit 50% mobile article views last year, and Robin Williams’ death finally tilted the scale to mobile. The upcoming BIMS Conference in Miami will feature Redesigning Email Campaigns for Mobile with the excellent team of Kim Mateus and Calie Brennan from Real Magnet and a What’s Your Mobile Strategy roundtable with the superb duo of Ed Keating from BLR and Larry Schwartz from Newstex.

“Mobile is no longer a specialty, it’s a requirement” said Alex Hardiman, executive director of mobile at the Times. Yes, it is still harder to monetize from mobile, but we all know that’s going to change—and probably pretty fast. So we must jump on the train now.

The leading Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet attracts 1.8 million mobile users compared to 1.5 million desktop. According to an article on the World News Publishing Focus site, “63 percent of new subscribers pay by SMS on their mobiles. With 11 years experience delivering freemium paid content they have recently managed to massively optimise both the sales funnel and user engagement on mobile…

“To keep users active, they have mapped exactly what kind of topics to sell at different times through the day, a 24/7 chart of reader activity. Entertainment works great as a second screen experience, while crime and mystery is perfect for the weekend.

Here are their 3 main lessons:
1. Full commitment from all levels
2. Consumer insights – e.g. deep interviews, surveys, analytics & CRM
3. A/B testing culture

“We have a mantra at Aftonbladet: any new idea we ask—how do we do it on mobile?” said managing editor Ted Kudinoff.

On another highly regarded global news site,, Martin Ashplant, director of digital and social media at the London business news site City AM, gave advice on doing mobile publishing well. (He said that age and locale of your audience is no excuse—“…we’re finding people are using mobile regardless of ages or demographics.”) They’ve increased mobile visitors 190% in six months.

1.“…never underestimate from a user’s point of view…If the site doesn’t load quick enough on mobile, they will lose interest and they go away.”

2. Editorially, focus “heavily” on data journalism and visualization and “working out how that works on mobile.”

3. They’ve moved away from “desktop-based ad types” such as page skins and MPUs…and instead began doing a lot more around native advertising.” (Native advertising is another session at BIMS.).

4. Get a mobile-friendly CMS (content management system). Ashplant said that editorial needs to see how content appears on smaller screens before publishing. “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t go out. You’ve got to start getting into that mentality otherwise you’re always going to be seeing mobile as the second sibling.”

5. Get social media savvy. “Social and mobile are intrinsically linked,” he said. People share content more on mobile so you need to identify that type of content. “If you understand who your audience is and what it is that makes them share, then you’re going to win half the battle straightaway.”

6. Keep it simple. “Whether it’s visual or text, get that message across as easily and simply as you possibly can.”

The numbers may not be there yet—even the Times still sees only 10% of new subscriptions come via mobile—but they will. It’s important to get there now so you’ll be ready. When Radar throws in one last “Ahhh, Bach,” Hawkeye whispers, “okay, hold it.” Such an answer will only work for so long.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

A Top Publisher Takes NYT Digital Innovation Report to Heart

Susan Hassler, editor-in-chief of the excellent IEEE Spectrum Magazine, concluded the Editorial Best Practices & Workflow track at last week’s SIIA Regional Training Series with a familiar refrain: use the actionable New York Times Digital Innovation Report. Her favorite line from the 96-page tome is that it used to be hitting the send button on a story marked the end of your work; today, it marks the beginning.

Hassler has put together her own Top 11 from the Times Report. Here they are with some of my notes and quotes from the Report:

1. Build your structure with Legos not bricks. “The right structure for today won’t be the right structure for tomorrow,” the Report said. “Our needs will change quickly and our skills will become out of date. More than anything we need to make ourselves adaptable. That means constantly assessing needs, recruiting talent and changing structures. And that means sometimes creating jobs with expiration dates to help us in transitional moments.”

2. Add the necessary digital capabilities to your staff. “Create tools to become a platform for the reaction after the news breaks. For example, we could create an interactive quiz or survey related to the draft, or start a moderated discussion thread with prominent figures.”

3. View your output like your audience does. IEEE launched a new mobile site in January, and since that time mobile traffic has jumped 80%—now accounting for 15% of all traffic. Part of that had to come from optimizing the designs for mobile.

4. Empower your staff to do more testing. Create a culture of experimentation. As an example, the Times Report said that people interested in the longtime hit show Wicked were having trouble finding the original Times review. They suggested adding landing pages for the cultural content that are more like guides. Optimized for search and social, these guides would serve the reader who want a more timeless resource. Most B2B publishers have similar “timeless” content that should be made easy to find. One other great quote: “Reward experimentation. Currently, the risk of failing greatly outweighs the reward of succeeding at The Times.”

5. As you enter into new areas—webinars, live events, etc.—rethink the competition. You’re taking on new types of companies now—it’s a different playing field. In-person attendees, people on the webcast, digital subscribers are all now members of your audience.

6. Consider creating a digital fellowship program. Partner with a local university or community college. “Once [students from those programs] are in the door, we have a better chance of retaining top performers.”

7. Let employees transfer easily between editorial and business units. For smaller publishers, the idea might be to give editorial people the chance to sit in on a business or marketing-side meeting/task force and vice versa.

8. Coordinate your efforts. There are pockets of people doing lots of interesting work. “The newsroom should begin an intensive review of its print traditions and digital needs—and create a road map for the difficult transition ahead. We need to know where we are, where we’re headed and where we want to go.”

9. An article begins life when you hit send. “We need to be better advocates of our own work,” the Report concluded. “[This] means identifying and sharing best practices at the ground level, and encouraging reporters and editors to promote their stories. In addition, we must take the process of optimization, for search and social, more seriously and ensure we are updating our tools and workflow along with our changing needs.”

10. Find staff people who take well to digital. Make sure hiring managers understand the demands of the jobs they’re trying to fill, and can assess the skills of applicants. Put less emphasis on traditional journalism skills in digital hires, and put more emphasis on digital skills in journalism hires. Empower and develop your digital talent by asking them to help shape, rather than simply implement, strategy.

11. Start a task force to lead the digital-first, new-product thinking. One conclusion I found interesting: “Kill off mediocre efforts. To free up resources for new initiatives, we need to be quicker and smarter about pulling resources from efforts that aren’t working. And we must do it in a way that is transparent so that people understand the reasons behind the decision, so that they will be willing to experiment again.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Regional Training Day Shows People the Money and More

How do I monetize thee? Let me count the ways. That was one theme from yesterday’s filled-to-the-brim, information-overloaded Regional Training Series: Edit, Pricing, Sales staged superbly by SIIA staff in Manhattan. The depth and breadth of the various models and ideas that were expounded upon make attending these kinds of events and belonging to SIIA so valuable.

Jason Clampet, co-founder and head of content at travel start-up Skift, said they monetize their 50,000 free newsletter list and 200,000 Twitter followers with native advertising, subscription reports (“research light”)—“Hilton might sponsor a report we write on extended stays that will help them be a thought leader,” Clampet said—and SkiftIQ data products they produce comparing as many as 125 travel brands on things like responding to customers on Twitter (American good, United bad). Skift also just put on their first in-person, one-day event in The New York Times Center last week. How did it go? “It will be two days next year,” said Clampet. They are also starting an in-house studio next month.

His co-panelist, Michael Lavitt, Aviation Week’s director editorial and online production, spoke of cutting back to 26 print issues (from 46) but upping their excellent, daily online output—taking stories from the magazine and “trickling them out” during the week. “We’re trying to get younger,” he said. New features will include 40 under 40 aerospace leaders. They hired a social media manager who’s so good that she’ll now head up their free website. But don’t look for breaking news there—that’s still for those who pay.

Pricing Strategies…

Paul Rowlings, SVP commercial development for the global company Wood MacKenzie, delivered an exciting case study on their “need to change” the way they do things—as part of the Pricing strand. One slide of an endless array of reports they offered told it all. “Part of the problem of implementing all this is there was a mess of a range of discounts going on,” he said. “Everyone was just doing the best deal you can—just to get them in here. It will take years to work through that legacy of discounts.”

By redesigning their portal and getting more content laid out neatly in front of their customers, Wood MacKenzie was able to get a huge increase in engagement. They also did a Product Usage Analysis showing how their reports are being used and learning how their clients are interacting with their content.

“It worked,” said Rowlings. “About 9 months into this experience, our portal usage has gone way up.” The question then became, “how do you get clients to pay for that when there isn’t a built-in price mechanism? We didn’t want clients to ration their number of users. How do we make money out of this?” Their 95-plus% retention rate obviously wasn’t the problem. Charging higher rates was.

That led to a discussion on pricing. Would customers pay more for data that they were now using more? They would. “We were pleasantly surprised by the reaction from our sales team and customers,” Rowlings said. The data from the usage reports had given [our sales people] a degree of confidence. He advised starting early in approaching price increases. “Start having those conversations now.”

Rowlings’ 3 key takeaways:
- trust that your data will get you to the right answer; don’t prejudge it;
- talk to your clients;
- don’t be afraid to take risks and make bold changes, if you feel it’s right. “We needed to change the game to get where we wanted to go.”

Digital Sales…

Another way of monetizing is through digital ads, and Leslie Laredo, president of The Laredo Group, did a full-day presentation of those fundamentals. Again, the discussion turned to data. “The #1 thing I’m hiring at my company are data analysts,” she said. “[Data is] changing how advertising works.”

She said that if you’re simply optimizing clicks, then “you’re reacting to the wrong action. Clicking is so easy. We want Calls to Action, interaction rates rather than click-through rates. If we watch a commercial on tv that we like, we don’t run to the store as soon as we see it.” It lays the groundwork. She also said something that I wrote about on Monday, that her highest click rates are on Saturday. You should test it.

“We’re all busy. People go to your website to read your content. They have to have the impulse to do it and the time to do it.” She said that search is becoming less valuable compared to social, mobile and native. “How do people know to search for you if they don’t have a trigger to find you. Search is great but not the trigger or inspiration.”

Which brings us back to data. “Maybe we also need to get away from keywords as the right way of finding our audience. I have data, I know your background.” She told of websites that will show you just how much information is being collected on you (Ghostery). Laredo and others yesterday also had optimistic words for print. “Print is a bigger driver to search than online. TV, print, conversations—those are what leads people to search.”

She encouraged more video content. “More and more content will trump a lot of things for revenue opportunities.” And she doesn’t ever want to see “learn more” as a benefit. “’Get the recipe now’—that’s a benefit. A benefit has to be strong enough to get people to want to click. Moat Ad Search is another website Laredo recommended—“it will show you all the ads of a company and the sites they appear on.

Editorial Best Practices…

A session on Raising Your Business IQ for editors brought up some actionable ideas. Editors should be highly valued in a company, but it’s a two-way street, said David Longobardi, EVP and chief content officer, SourceMedia. They should be invited to the executive table but must bring ideas with them. “We invite our lead editors of each brand to write an internal white paper,” he said.

“We ask them to redefine the market and the audience, explain the eco-system, identify trends that are changing the industry, and draw conclusions at the end. Is it a growth market? That document becomes the foundation for our strategic planning process. That’s where we start our discussions. It’s a good opportunity to set the tone. Editors have led our brands into the digital future.”

Co-presenting was Alex DeBarr, president and CEO, of Naylor, a media and event management company. He said that it’s important for any remaining walls in your company to come down. “We don’t believe in silos.” To capitalize—he used that word instead of monetize—on your brand, an editor must:
- “Understand your company’s capital structure; do you know how they make money? You gotta know.”
- “Understand the business model you live in; make sure your team understands it.”
- “Understand what [you and/or] your team does well; you have to make understanding your market a competitive advantage.”
- “Create your own definition of great content based on what your market needs.”
- “Help circulation people understand the market.”

Know how your digital products work, he added, and how they can be monetized and sold. Draw market maps that show channels of distribution and a trend sheet with the top 5 trends in the market. But most of all, speak up.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.


Testing, Renewals, New Revenue, Data. And That’s Just One BIMS Time Slot.

I have a problem to work out for 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11. What breakout session do I attend at the Business Information & Media Summit in Miami Beach? This is a problem that everyone in the industry should have. Here’s why.

Choice 1: After speaking by phone with new SIPA Board member Benny DiCecca yesterday—he’s the CEO of Wellesley Information Systems (WIS)—I’m ready to follow him anywhere. He’s a panelist on the session New Products. New Partners. New Revenue? Developing Future Revenue-Drivers for Your Business. In 15 years, DiCecca has built WIS into a 130-plus employee company that started with conferences but has expanded into roadshows, webcasts, global events and large-scale partnering.

“It’s a matter of looking at your existing products—publications, webinars, live shows, educational events—and seeing what people are willing to pay for,” DiCecca said. “And then testing that line of thinking. Are you best with an app, mobile, print, no print. Talk to people, see the money…Millennials now pose entirely new challenges, so we’re trying to figure that out—what mobile devices mean for us. Do we build quick informational apps, native apps? Focus groups are also incredibly important, as are predictive analytics that will help shape your new products.”

Joining DiCecca will be Robert Dippell of Praetorian Digital, Ed Gillette of Scranton Gillette/SGC Horizon, and Andy Weber, CEO of Farm Journal Media. “Truly multimedia solutions [are] driven where multimedia platforms are [responding] to customers’ needs, not just bundling for cheaper prices…” Weber has said. “So, the focus is helping customers achieve their objectives.”

Choice 2: Online Testing Techniques with Matt Bailey, author of the new book, Wired to Be Wowed: Great Marketing Isn’t an Accident. This should be a very actionable session. “People with testing experience get great results and can point to why,” Bailey told me last month. “They make time. It comes down to ultimately creating a culture of testing. You can start small, so people can see the results [and why you are] trying to produce a data-centric culture. Before we can get anything, what does the data say?…What is a good third-party way to look at my data, to test in a low-impact, high yield way?”

The point of airing my mid-morning-to-be crisis is not sympathy. After all, this is Miami Beach. It’s that as I look at every time period of the three-day information- and solution-athon, great sessions stand out. You can fly in Monday morning and leave Wednesday afternoon pocketing success stories and marketing/lead gen tips just shouting to be implemented at home.

Choice 3Randy Greenberg, COO of Greene/QCSS, and David DePaolo, president of WorkCompCentral, present Keep Renewal Revenue Flowing. I’ve known Randy a while and treasure the information he and QCSS bring. And renewals are our lifeblood. On their excellent blog, I especially like the post, “7 Ways to Build an Emotional Connection With Callers.” (Number 4 – “Smile as you speak.”)

Choice 4: Surely, that’s enough for one 55-minute spot. But there’s more. My excellent colleague here at SIIA Matt Kinsman moderates a panel session titled: Getting the Tech (Digital) and Business Sides to Work Together. On his all-star panel are James Capo of Access Intelligence, Joel Hughes of Scranton Gillette, David Klein, Sr. from Crain Communications Inc., and Roberta Muller from Northstar Travel Media. What can be more important than getting those two areas to cooperate?

Choice 5: Chris Taggart, the founder of Open Corporates, will deliver Is the Future of Data Open?—a valuable session for everyone in the industry.

Can you say “cloning”? In reality, I will probably be assigned to monitor one of the main session rooms and then cover those before me. That’s okay—saves me from telling Randy or Matt or Benny that I chose someone else. But I hope you and your colleagues take a good look at the BIMS schedule and who’s attending to see the value. And then come face the 10:30 “crisis” with me.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

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