‘Our Biggest Investment Is in People’; a Q&A With Breaking Media CEO John Lerner

This is the first in a series of BIMS 2023 Speaker Q&A Previews. We hope you get a taste for what these speakers will deliver IN PERSON on Feb. 23-24 in Orlando and choose to join us. Register here for this much-anticipated summit event! 

Last year, John Lerner, CEO of Breaking Media, spoke about their amazing 50% growth during the pandemic: “We are doing a lot of content marketing programs. We added really strong editorial teams.” It was good to hear content given such royal stature. We caught up with John, a speaker at BIMS 2023 in February, to ask him about digital advertising and how best to maximize growth.

With the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) set for Feb. 23-24 in Orlando, our director of programming and development, Tony Silber, has embarked on a new Q&A series featuring some of the incredible speakers we have lined up. In the weeks ahead, we’ll publish one or two brief Q&As every week, each of them zeroing in on a specific topic related to sessions at the event.

Last year, given the times we were still in, Lerner spoke a lot about the online experience, giving customers “the opportunity to run their own native content (labeled as such) intermingled with our editorial content.” And how customers want to be considered thought leaders in their space.

In this first installment of this BIMS series, Lerner moves on to talk about digital advertising and what’s needed for growth to continue.

Tony Silber: Given the macroeconomic uncertainty, what’s your sense of the digital advertising market for 2023?
John Lerner: The conversations with our customers regarding 2023 are focused on ROI and strategic hyper-targeting. There is obvious trepidation about the economy, but at the same time, many feel this is an opportunity to gain market share. Just as digital focused on ROI was an efficient way to market during the pandemic, we feel that this trend will continue moving forward as marketers can see the results of their digital media spend in real-time or close to that.

What are the media products most in demand by marketers?
JL: Any marketing solution that leverages first-party data and/or contextually relevant content is in high demand. We get a lot of feedback that marketers are fed up with waste. This applies to the entire marketing funnel, even at the top. We are laser-focused on targeting appropriately for all marketing programs.

What kinds of tech support do you need to maximize growth?
JL: We continue to invest in people, processes and tools that allow us to track, segment, deliver and report on targeted-marketing programs. That being said, this only works if we have quality editorial coverage of the markets we serve. So at the end of the day, our biggest investment is in people.

Where do events fit in the marketing mix going forward? We know that dollars pivoted to digital advertising in 2020 after events were cancelled.
JL: We feel that events have really segmented into two categories: trade shows and niche boutique events. Each market will support 1-2 large trade shows, but I have heard many marketers are still evaluating ROI beyond the #1 show in their market. The highly focused boutique events offer an opportunity for more networking, and we feel these fit well with highly targeted digital media.

Thanks, John. Looking forward to seeing you at BIMS!

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