'I Will Never Read Your Rate Card' - 10 Killer Quotes From Connectiv's First Publisher/Advertiser Event with ANA

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When multiple speakers preface their comments by saying, “Now I’m going to offend everyone in the room…” you know it’s going to be a good conversation. 

No punches were pulled at What Goes ‘Round: Re-imagining the Media Marketer Relationship in a Digitally Transformed World, the first joint event from Connectiv and ANA Business Marketing which hosted a sell-out crowd June 19 in New York City. 

Topics ranged from what brands and agencies want from publishers, what publisher assets are most appealing (hint: it may not be that brand new “content lab”), navigating the demand for new ideas with inability to move the conversation beyond the 23-year-old brand media planner and why first party data is the way forward.

Panelists included:

Kate Spellman, CMO of Questex, whose team has modernized the company’s approach to digital sales and turned a digital decline into a double-digit gain.

Tony Uphoff, President and CEO of Thomas, which has transformed from print directories to be one of the most leading edge information and technology companies in B2B.

Jason Abbate, Group Account director at B2B agency Stein IAS, “Where Martech Meets Madmen” and which represents heavy hitters such as Samsung, Merck and Korn Ferry. 

Below are 10 quotes that captured the conversation. 

What the Customer (or At Least the Agency) Really Wants

Jason Abbate: I want to activate publisher audiences—data, events, direct buys. I’m looking for ideas—every time I call a publisher, I hear about their rate card—that’s not what I want. I will never read your rate card. It all comes down to reaching and activating your audience. When I talk about publisher assets, you have access to audience, and editorial credibility. That’s what I want to buy. I don’t want to buy video, I don’t want your content studio. When I see a white paper, that’s like content marketing from 2009. I want you to do a custom event that we can’t do.  When I see things like content studios, that’s taking money out of my pocket. 

Publishers No More? 
Tony Uphoff: "We don’t live in a publishing world anymore. Publishing is dead. Thomas is a Bloomberg model. We are one of biggest resellers of Hubspot. We still publish but it’s the  smallest part of our business." 

The Right To Be In This Business
Kate Spellman: "What gives us the right to be in this business—content and audience. We need to stay true to that and get in the workflow of the customer." 

New Market Realities 
Tony Uphoff: "We used to sit with CEOs of major advertisers who wanted our insight and expertise. In March, we led a roundtable on manufacturing at the White House but I also can’t have a meeting with GE that gets above a 23-year-old media planner." 

Uphoff: "PE firms are the new agencies. We’re getting contacted by PE firms that have pulled together 18 different companies and they want to work with us as a centralized service. We want to find more ways to bring agencies into that business."

Stop Faking it With MarTech
Kate Spellman: “We’re moving toward customer platforms and intent behavior. We have brought in specialists who know how to do automation and segmentation. You need people who know what they’re doing with these tools, you can’t expect a team with no experience to implement this stuff.” 

Jason Abbate: “I’m scared when a client says ‘we bought this.” We are focused on the application of the technology, not the technology itself. It’s less about individual technologies and more about how you put them together. There are a lot of aggressive sales guys with some of these marketing automaton tools who will say anything to sign the deal, then they’re gone.”

Poor Customer Experience Will Cost You Money 

Tony Uphoff: What we used to think of as creative is now user experience. Fifty percent of our registered users are millennials—they won’t put up with stuff that we older folks will.

The End of Third Party Data? 

Jason Abbate: I don’t like the open exchange. I beg publishers to activate their data. If we look at third part data, it’ s probably the worst buy. Access to first party data is what keeps you relevant. 

Tony Uphoff: I think we will see the collapse of third part data very soon. When you see a lot of what’s priced into programmatic, it’s just waste.

Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.