Events Take the Front Seat at UBM Tech

Last April, UBM Tech unveiled a strategic shift in which the b-to-b media and event company would become what CEO Paul Miller calls “a community-focused business with live events at the core.”

While the online media teams would facilitate community building to “emulate the networking, learning and peer-to-peer sharing that occurs at events,” live event content would become a much more integral part of related 24/7/365 online media communities.

EXPO spoke with Miller this week to find out how the transformation is going.

Expo: How have you been executing the new strategy?

Paul Miller: We’ve attached our live events to our online communities in many ways. We’re connecting the community editors with the advisory boards for our events. We also have editors keynoting or running panels at every event we do.

We are taking advantage of our media and event brand names by bringing them together at events, where it makes sense. For example, March 31-April 1, we will launch the InformationWeek Conference@Interop, which will be two days of education and knowledge sharing for C-level and senior IT executives collocated with our flagship technology event.

Another example is EE Live, formerly known as Design West, which is now connected almost completely with EE Times. The editor of EE Times is also general manager of the event.

Expo: What have you done on the audience and marketing side?

Miller: One linchpin of this strategy has been building a centralized audience data warehouse, but we are not doing it in a typical way. The content the audience member is consuming is the basis for everything, not business demographics such as title, company type and company size.

If you have been looking at security content on our websites, for example, we can now send you messages about very specific tracks at a Black Hat conference that relate to the content you consumed.

One surprising thing we’re finding is that targeted e-mails and communications based on the last 12 weeks of content consumption have much better open rate conversions than any other time frame.

Expo: As a division of UBM, you’re limited in what you can say about UBM Tech’s performance, but what can you reveal?

Miller: We’ve turned around from being a perennial underachiever [at UBM] to a business that has exceeded our bottom-line profit goals consistently for nine months and, in many cases, exceeded our top-line revenue goals, as well. And we’ve done that while also walking away from millions of dollars of unprofitable revenue.

Our audience database is growing and getting healthier, and the open rates of e-mails have gone up six- to eightfold as a result of our data warehouse project.

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