Just over a year ago I wrote about IDG's transition from being a print centric to web centric company.
It's often too easy to theorize and be visionary but the real proof comes when you have to execute.
Today's story in the NYTimes talks about IDG's execution over the last year, with particular reference to the team at Infoworld who successfully closed the print publication and focused entirely on online, event and mobile opportunities.
There's a lot to this story but one of the most important issues is that by being unburdened by print allowed the team at Infoworld the opportunity to focus on the changing needs of their customers and to develop online , event and mobile products. It's changed the culture of that brand.
The philosophy of listening to customers and really understanding your marketplace has been installed in the organization over the last four decades by Pat McGovern and is well summarized in a recent FT interview.
Last week in Boston, I had the opportunity to attend an internal training course of our senior managers (training is also viewed as a key competitive advantage by the company). I've experienced similar events over my fifteen years at IDG, but watching Pat McGovern work the room during dinner with those nineteen, potential future IDG executives, making them feel so special by recognizing their contributions to the company underscored the very special fabric of this organization.
In 1993 I attended such a training boot camp, having arrived in the US from the UK after being Managing Director of Dennis Publishing, Ltd. my team mate on the case study project was Bob Carrigan, now the CEO of IDG Communications Inc. I guess IDG's investment in us has paid off !
So what's next ?
Of course there is more to be done on the transition to online. In particular building on the peer to peer knowledge of our communities. Today marketers want not only eyeballs, they want truly engaged and participatory audiences and through programs such as IDG's Market Fusion initiative we demonstrate the deep engagement of our IT and Tech audiences.
Next is mobile.
While, mobile marketing initiatives are still modest and the consumption of mobile content is still in its infancy, things are going to change rapidly over the next several years. I subscribe to the belief that we're seeing the dawn of a new mass media
The mobile opportunities and the move to the 7th Mass Media are well articulated by Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore.
While the monoculture of South Korea is much different to Western cultures, they are at the epicenter of the convergence of the Internet, Telecommunications and Broadcast TV. Not everything that works within the South Korean culture will necessarily translate but publishers around the world ignore the rapid developments in this country at their peril.
To get a glimpse of the digital culture of South Korea read Digital Korea I handed out a copy to all the students at our internal training course last week. Over at the Industry Standard there is a discussion about the merger of the mobile phone and the web.
Obviously I'm not going to give away all our plans and initiatives but as the NYTimes article showed, IDG has successfully managed the transition from print to online, now I'm thinking about the transition from online to mobile.