©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

by Bob Carrigan – CEO, IDG Communications Worldwide

I see 2012 as a year of momentum for trends that came into focus during 2011.  First, the digital/interactive industry remains the fastest growing media segment.  Analysts expect that trend to continue this year.  In the United States alone, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that online advertising grew to almost $23 billion (US) through the first nine months of 2011 (that’s 23% higher than the same period in 2010).

Online revenue for all of 2011 is expected to far exceed the record $26 billion earned in 2010. An IDG Research survey completed late last year revealed that tech marketers expect to spend 50% on the digital channel alone. Long story short: despite reports of global economic malaise, the interactive industry is surging forward.

Social marketing became a key industry driver around 2009, and has since been joined by mobile and video marketing.  Use of mobile devices, particularly smartphones, is advancing at an unprecedented pace. IDC reported that smartphone shipments totaled 491.4 million units in 2011, up a strong 61.3% from the 304.7 million units in 2010.  Video viewership is also exploding.  In January, eMarketer predicted video ad spending will grow 55% in 2012. In your roles as multi-national marketers, you must understand how these new tools are being adopted in, and can be deployed in, different geographies.

Many Choices, Who Can Help?

Faced with more ways to spend your marketing dollars than ever before, media companies and marketers are grappling with this new world order.  PQ Media estimates that the number of media platforms available to marketers has increased from eight in the 1970’s to more than 100 today.  This fragmentation significantly complicates media choice, comparisons between media, and program metrics.

But despite the proliferation of media choices, marketers’ fundamental media planning questions remain the same.  Is the audience one that we are targeting?  Does the media partner produce trusted content?   Is the content available where we need it?   IDG Global Solutions can answer those questions across media and around the world.

High Quality Lead Generation

Return on investment has gained added importance with the measurement and reporting inherent in digital, interactive campaigns.  Lead generation is usually at the top of the list in any ROI discussion.  Audience quality and trust are paramount.  Any media database provider must earn permission from readers to provide them information or offer services and products from a marketer client.  If you give readers exactly what they want and you respect their preferences, they are willing to give more information about themselves.  Over time, more detailed information is collected that can be shared with marketers who want the most qualified prospects.  That’s how IDG has grown a global database (readers and event attendees) of millions of IT buyers.

Know Your Marketplace

In addition to connecting marketers with prospects, a media partner should have a deep understanding of your market.  IDG conducts research throughout the year to learn more about buyers to guide marketers.  One example is IGS research last summer that provided insight into mobile use and information preferences.  We also learn a lot from reaction to editorial and social media.  Social, editorial, and vendor content are building blocks for beneficial relationships.   Up to 10 percent of traffic to IDG media sites comes from social but there is more: The CIO LinkedIn Forum with more than 45,000 members is the largest social network of its kind.


Mobile is poised to be the biggest development for communication and marketing.  Even though we are in the early stages of mobile, its use and advertising potential promises to far surpass the wired web.  Social, local, and mobile (SoLoMo) will lead to very different forms of interactivity where smartphones recognize where people are located, who they are connected with, and what is near them.

Add to the mix advertising technologies not dreamed of several years ago, vertical ad networks and exchanges such as the IDG TechNetwork, and the need to analyze massive amounts of data, and we all have a lot to learn and to apply at work.  IDG Global Solutions is at the intersection of media, marketing, communications, and technology and how those components will best serve both marketers and users.

About Bob Carrigan

Bob Carrigan is CEO of IDG Communications worldwide, IDG’s media and events subsidiary. He oversees IDG’s media operations, including online, print, and events in 97 countries around the world. Read more

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