Some get it; some don’t

At Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s first Marketing Professionals Committee meeting of 2013 last Thursday, I had the pleasure of serving as MC and introducing Jenniffer Goodstein, the new owner, publisher and CEO of NYC Community Media. The group of local print publications includes The Villager, Downtown Express, Gay City News, Chelsea Now, and East Villager.

The interesting part of Jenniffer’s story is that she comes from the world of digital marketing. Among many other things, she developed educational technology programs for the State of Maryland and served as Assistant Vice President for Retail E-Business for MetLife.

Jenniffer gets it. As she was describing her mission and vision to our group, she outlined how she planned to integrate digital with print.

Now, when I say Jenniffer “gets it,” I’m not talking about getting the fact that she realizes how important it is to blend together all available media. The “gets it” I’m talking about has to do with her understanding that she is not in the business of selling advertising space, but of helping her publications’ advertising clients — the businesses in her communities — build their sales and grow their businesses as a result of increasing their marketing effectiveness.

In other words, she is more about helping them build their businesses rather than selling them advertising.

By comparison, Friday afternoon I spoke to a publisher that simply didn’t get it. His name, which I will not mention for obvious reasons, heads a digital trade publication serving the automotive industry. My call was to on behalf of a client that was looking to reach that publication’s demographics.

I spent a tremendous amount of time explaining precisely what my client was looking for. But the publisher was all about selling his “rigid packages.” His concern didn’t seem to be for what was best for my client or what would make my client happy. He was all about his programs and packages. Whether he will yield or not, I’m not sure. The jury is still out.

Barbershops are not in the business of cutting hair. They are in the business of helping customers look good and feel good about their appearance. Home remodeling companies aren’t in the business of installing new kitchens. They are in the business of creating a kitchen that supports the homeowners’ love of gourmet cooking.

Of course, I know this and have been preaching it for years. But within the space of 24 hours, it was interesting to see such a dramatic difference between these two publishers and their two approaches and to remind myself that I am not a business strategist or marketing consultant, I am in the business of helping businesses become “wildly successful.”


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