Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

It’s the audience, people

Posted on | April 16, 2008 | No Comments

I had the good fortune to be able to roll into the Valley yesterday and spend some time rubbing elbows at the EE Times ACE Awards dinner last night. Definitely good times. Spirits (and attendance) were high even though the industry’s still struggling, and no one really knows how the recession will affect business.

EET EIC Junko Yoshida and Publisher David Blaza were smashing on stage, and an array of interesting company, people and products took home crystal trophies, including a seven-year-old kid who designs things with FPGAs.

Times as a brand and Tech Insights as a company have done a really strong job positioning themselves as the community plaza for the electronics industry—and ACE is the capper each year. Tech Insights CEO Paul Miller has expanded his business with research-oriented acquisitions, such as Semiconductor Insights in Ottawa and Dave Carey’s Portelligence in Austin. Miller is going where the audiences are.

But there seems to be hesitation about filling the community plaza. Marketers are at a crossroads. We don’t really need a plaza, do we? We all have our own homes. They’re nice homes with flagstone walkways and luscious lawns. We’ll invite people there, for drinks and dinner.

My mantra, channeling McLuhan, is “the company is the medium is the message.” You are your own publisher or network now. Take advantage of broadband and roll with it (see IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, etc.). Companies are slowly realizing this potential. What they may never get, though, is how to build audience. Publishers know how to build an audience and, oh by the way, they already have audiences in print, online and events. Traditional publishers and corporate publishers can co-exist (and in fact build great synergies) in this world. It’s not either-or.

So can you live outside the plaza? Sure, if your goal is grow old by yourself on your front porch, drooling on your cardigan.

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