It’s been a big week for the Chicago area b2b media information company formerly known as CSP Business Media. First, the announcement of a new corporate name (Winsight) and the goal of tripling the company’s revenue over the next five years; the hiring of four new executives (a chief brand officer; a senior vice president of a new division called Winsight Information Services, which focuses on research; a chief content officer and a senior vice president of media products and audience development) who will be instrumental in reaching that goal; and Winsight’s 114-year-old Restaurant Business being named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Business Press Editors.
Here, CEO Mike Wood shares his vision for the growth plan (dubbed Route100), including why Winsight still sees a big role for print even as it looks to events and data/information services to become its biggest revenue streams.
ABM/CISD: Can you talk about the significance of the new name change? What does this say to the market?
Mike Wood: CSP, our flagship brand serving the convenience retailing industry, was launched by the founder of the company 20+ years ago. Our company is bigger now, our offerings broader, and the CSP name became self-limiting. It no longer reflected our breadth or our prospects for the future—we needed a name that could guide us on the road to $100 million.
The very best names easily and memorably convey one or more of these essential communications attributes:
— endeavor (what the company, product or service does)
— purpose (how what it does most improves constituents’ welfare) and
— character (the human personality traits that best describe the company’s way of being).
Our new name artfully combines the verb and noun “win” with the fundamental benefit to constituents that has made our company the leader in the industries it serves: insight. With “win” and “insight” together as Winsight, our new name clearly suggests that our many and diverse constituents will “win” in their respective business endeavors ably assisted by the extraordinary experience and innovative insights only our company can provide.
The Winsight symbol will be the central component of our Winsight corporate identity program.
It is the constant link that will thread across and through the diverse assets of the entire organization. Our symbol conveys a precisely drawn compass suggesting Winsight’s global coverage and 360° expertise in the industries it serves. As a compass shows the way by means of magnetic north, so too does Winsight, through its extraordinary experience and deep knowledge of the industries it serves, show its diverse constituents paths to success.
ABM/CISD: Can you talk more specifically to triple the company size in the next five years? Where do you see the greatest opportunities? Why?
Wood: Yes, I am referring to top-line revenue. We tend to be contrarian with regard to print as we have continued to invest in our print products over the past three years through comprehensive new designs and content strategies and a concomitant investment in talented people.
That said, we also recognize that our largest growth opportunities are in events, where we operate six large-scale executive conferences and plan to launch our first international event in the fall of next year, digital offerings where we have also invested heavily and data/analytics/information services where we are still in an infancy stage but have added resources and have aggressive plans. We intend to leverage our recent successes and have identified market opportunities that make us confident that focusing on these opportunities is the correct path for our business.
ABM/CISD: How do you anticipate the revenue mix changing over the next five years?
Wood: We anticipate that our mix will migrate to a model that includes a roughly equal distribution of revenue between print, digital, events and information services. Currently, the mix is about 45% print, 35% events, 15% digital and under 5% information services. Our growth plan calls for our mix to be 19% print, 35% events, 22% digital and 24% information services.
ABM/CISD: What’s the significance of the new positions that you’ve added, specifically chief brand officer and chief content officer? How will this affect the way Winsight goes to market?
Wood: Our resource investments lay a foundation for our future growth. We have an aggressive plan and we felt it crucial to kick off "Route100" by hiring talent in anticipation of our growth. Typically, it happens the other way. Any executive can announce an aggressive growth plan. We wanted Route100 to resonate with everyone in the company—to feel real and exciting.
We determined that making the people investments on the front end not only made our plans more achievable but also signaled to everyone that we were willing to “put our money where our mouth is”. We have on-boarded four new executives over the last few months to ensure we are focused on building products and services to meet the dynamic needs of our customers and audiences.
The addition of Chris Keating [formerly VP of Penton's Restaurant Group], our new chief brand officer, gives us a seasoned executive that has a proven track record of providing solutions to customers that address their specific needs, whether through media, in-person events or research products. Grey Montgomery [formerly directopr of mobile initiatives with McClatchy], our new chief content officer, will be focused on making our formidable content engine more robust and adaptable allowing us to produce and distribute valuable information more rapidly, to larger audiences, and in formats that allow consumption in any medium and on any device.
We’ve also brought on senior resources to build out our information services platform, fuel our product development, content distribution and audience development efforts and we have promoted and redeployed two key executives, Ward Downing to guide our comprehensive media strategy and Nick Hayman, to add firepower to our rapidly growing events business.