B2B Interview Series: Marty Tully

Trust Never Sleeps

Best Resource/Infrastructure Article (Gold), 2014

Marty Tully is the publisher of Listed Magazine, the magazine for Canadian listed companies.

At last year’s 61st KRW Awards, Listed Magazine went home as a two-time gold winner, for Best Profile of a Company and Best Resource/Infrastructure Article.

This year’s awards program will take place on June 7 and the judging process is soon underway. The Canadian Business Media Association is always on the lookout for new judges, to ensure that the CBM juries may best represent the dynamism and diversity of Canadian B2B publishing.

We are currently still accepting applications for our judging panel. If you feel you, or someone you know, could lend valuable expertise to this year’s panel, please email us at staff@krwawards.com.

The benefits of becoming a judge are plentiful. Read this interview with Marty Tully to see what he gained from his judging experience.

CBMA: How long have you been a judge for the KRW/CBM awards and why did you decide to volunteer as a judge?

Marty Tully: Two years. The KRW’s are prestigious awards in our B2B community and Listed Magazine is very honoured when it wins a KRW Award. It is with the appreciation and care in the judging process that I do my part for other publishers.

CBMA: Award winners reap a number of benefits: attracting new readers; writers gain credibility, etc. What are some of the benefits of judging the CBM awards?

Marty Tully: By taking on the responsibility as a judge, you look at other publications with a more involved perspective and new appreciation. It is a learning experience.

CBMA: What professional expertise did you gain from the experience?

Marty Tully: Working with other judges from different backgrounds in the publishing business helped me gain an understanding of their perspectives. And I am sure in the back of my mind, when a publication is evaluated, I wonder how my publication measures up on similar criteria.

CBMA: The process of judging CBM awards submissions exposes one to a broad range of B2B content. How has the judging process shaped your understanding of Canada’s B2B industry?

Marty Tully: It reinforced my appreciation for the unique position B2B has in Canada. When you hear the generic comments that print is dying, I can see from the quality of B2B publications and the niche audiences that they serve, that B2B is doing very well.

CBMA: Judging for the CBM awards offers an insider’s view, giving judges a thorough understanding of what makes an entry an award-winner. With that in mind, what advice would you pass along to those entering the CBM 2016 awards?

How to Build a Pharma Giant

Best Profile of a Company (Gold), 2014

Marty Tully: Most of the judges have never seen or read the publications they are evaluating, so we can never have too much background about the publication; the more we understand the publication the more fairly we can judge.

CBMA: What advice would you pass along to CBM judges for the 2016 awards season?

Marty Tully: Be fair, objective and collaborative with the other judges on your team.



B2B Interview Series: Mike Fredericks

Mike Fredericks, President & CEO of Annex Business Media, is a CA accountant and has operated Annex for nearly 26 years.

MVF head shot 2

Early this year, Annex and Newcom acquired 67 trade publications, related websites and other digital assets previously owned by Business Information Group. With this transaction, what had been the largest privately owned B2B company has made another major leap to become the biggest B2B publishing company in Canada.

The B2Blog spoke with Mike Fredericks about this acquisition as well as the business-to-business publishing industry in general.

Annex Business Media and Newcom Business Media announced earlier this year the acquisition of 67 titles previously owned by Business Information Group (BIG), and the launch of a new amalgamated company. What does this new partnership mean for the future of B2B publishing in Canada, in your view?

I think it’s a good sign that private owners have such a significant interest in B2B publishing, and that we were prepared to invest a pretty substantial amount of money and some of the best titles in the country. I think it’s good; it bodes well.

Since the recent merger, what have been some of the first orders of business?

The primary elements have been getting to understand the assets and to meet the senior people associated with all the titles that we’ve acquired and understand what their business opportunities and challenges are. It’s really about fact-finding, about what it is we’ve acquired. Of course, we know them through years of watching them or in some cases competing with them, so now it’s nice to know them from the inside.

How has the evolution of Annex shaped your own experience and your understanding of the B2B industry in Canada?

I’ve been in the business 25 years or so, from a very small number of business titles and very vertical markets. We see the evolution of the needs of marketers to the various business communities that they serve. The big thing on everyone’s mind is: how do we continue to serve them? Twenty-five years ago we were all quite satisfied with making a nice magazine and putting it on doorsteps or in mailboxes, but today its more complicated than that.  We have to deliver to our audience in a variety of ways, through digital formats of all sorts and also face-to-face events. We’re still in the magazine business, but we have a lot of other things to go with it.

Annex Business Media operates differently than many publishing companies in that you are your own supplier of almost all necessary operational functions.  Can you tell us about the genesis of this approach as well as the resulting opportunities and challenges?

The genesis is that the businesses we acquired were already established in this format. They were running their own circulations department and their own graphics departments, but also had print facilities. All we have done is use that model with more modern approaches to things like very sophisticated printing plants. It helps us to manage our costs and be in control of our work flow.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge the B2B publishing industry must adapt to today? 

I think it’s the fragmentation of the purchasing dollar, in that it has various people driving what they think is going to be effective for them. Coming up with the best multi-faceted solution, which I think is an integrated sales approach and also how to best reach a total audience.

Many of Annex’s and recently acquired BIG magazines are considered references in their respective industry. The quality of the content these magazines produce has been celebrated by the B2B community through the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, a program that recognizes excellence in B2B publishing. What gives strength to your publications?

We’re always happy to find best practices in a new enterprise, or share those that we’ve been successful with, giving us a broader base of publications to share best practices across all aspects of the publishing. Best practices are certainly a big benefit. Also, in the case of Annex, we made a pretty substantial commitment to the manufacturing sector. We were already in it, but the majority of titles we acquired from BIG were in the manufacturing sector, so it’s a very large commitment to the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Annex Business Media is one of the founding members of Canadian Business Media. As a publisher, what do you hope to get from the association and what do you feel is critical that the CBM focus on in the foreseeable future?

I think the primary function of any business association is to lobby the government for the best efforts to support the industry. Also, to work with the industry for the development of the staff within the industry, to be the primary hub of education and training. An ancillary, of course, I do appreciate the efforts of identifying and recognizing the best in the industry, so I think the awards programs are beneficial.

What advice would you give emergent writers, editors, publishers who want to work in B2B publishing?

Have a passion for the industry that you’re applying to, or at least a serious interest in it. The writing and the publishing tends to be somewhat technical, based on the environment, so enjoying that environment certainly brings a lot more benefit. When someone is committed to the sector that they’re working in, it benefits both the employee and employer and as well as the overall industry.

B2B Interview Series: John Kerr

In the first installment of our B2B Interview Series, Canadian Business Media Chair John Kerr answers our questions about CBM and shares his vision on the future of the Canadian B2B industry. Kerr, a veteran publisher, is CEO of Kerrwil Publications Limited, the oldest privately held publishing company in Canada.

Can you tell us more about the history of CBM, formerly the Canadian Business Press, and how long you’ve been involved with the organization?

Kerrwil is a family business founded by my father in 1964. I remember CBP in those days from the discussions I would have with my father about what he was working at.  For him CBP was a great venue to learn, share and grow and for me, when I got recruited into the firm, it quickly meant a great deal to me too.

I have some lifelong friends in the publishing industry and many of them have been directly impactful on my career. I got asked to join the board by then-president Cy Summerfield and I think that was in 1985. I have had the privilege of sitting as chairman twice and both terms were radically different: one in the good old days; the other as the B2B space battled the headwinds of consolidation and the decline of full-time advertising and marketing roles in firms here in Canada. And we witnessed the new competition.  The most recent appointment and the challenges therein gave vice-chair Jim Hall and me the drive to make sure CBM would gain traction.

CBM is the evolution of CBP. It’s a vison shared by so many of us that are passionate about the B2B space and who are committed and dedicated to guarding the essence of what it takes to be a successful B2B publisher. CBM is about growth and professional development, it’s about networking and of course it’s about recognition of those that provide the unique content we deliver.

What is the role and the mission of the association?

The role of CBM is to foster excellence in the trade press though open dialogue and collaboration. It’s the place where as B2B publishing professionals we can meet, discuss, debate and even defend our sector’s position on issues that confront us. Most important, it’s a place where company size doesn’t matter, but where the individuals that drive these companies meet as equals. Our role, simply put, is to make sure the role of the business media in Canada is guarded and protected through the right focus on what’s important for Canadian trade publishers.

Specifically, which initiatives will be implemented in an effort to build and sustain a stronger B2B publishing industry?

Well, the first thing we’re doing is making the association open to all trade publishers here in Canada. One company, one vote ensures that what gave the old CBP a bad rap is gone. We are working and focusing on trade press issues first and we are getting more aggressive on networking, professional development and dialogue. It’s our goal to fill the void in information flow so communications will be enhanced and improved considerably. The fact is that by all working more closely together, both big and small publishers, and by allowing our real-world issues challenges to be debated openly, we can ensure the role that Canadian business media owners have invested in is understood, accepted and promoted.

Why is networking important for B2B publishers, and what can B2B publishers learn from one another?

When I grew up, my father spoke of Al Wadham. Mr. Wadham helped our family establish its business and my father always said he played a huge role in coaching, driving and giving my father the tools and the focus he really needed. Jim Hall, our vice-chair, gave me this type of support too in my earlier days when the dynamics of the family business distracted us from what we needed to do.  It’s about perspective and precedents, understanding best practices, and realizing you are not in this alone.

How can a strong B2B community help individual publishers achieve or maintain success?

In answering this question I think I need to put this in context: the best thing is to realize the in-house ad manager is long gone and those great B2B ad agencies that used to be an integral partner are, for the most part, gone. I also think it’s about the fact that a ton of decisions are not made in Canada anymore and I think it’s important to understand there are few disciples that help us sell the role we play to more senior managers who are still responsible for the Canadian P+L. I think by coming together and focusing on the elephant in the room—that we are not selling our position well—and by delivering a consistent message that advertising in print and online drives market share-building awareness and grows profit will give us, together, a better position to move from.

How do you envision the future of the B2B publishing industry in Canada?

I see a new opportunity to drive a value proposition that goes well beyond our premise to date of delivering qualified audiences in an editorial environment that gives advertisers a great return. We are all familiar where ancillary product development is going with the traditional in-print, in-person and online strategies, but I sense this will be augmented with target marketing, research, custom-content platforms and, the big one for me, helping define Canada as a market.