What's Next?

Posted on May 19, 2012 by Tony Uphoff

For the last 6 years I have led a team that has transformed a declining print-centric business into a fast-growing $200 million digital media, live event and marketing services behemoth, otherwise known as UBM TechWeb. It has been an extraordinary experience and one that I'm immensely proud of. I've made the difficult decision that this is the right time for me to leave the company, refresh and evaluate my next venture. I will remain a loyal friend of UBM and retain a vested interest in the continued success of the people and the company. I know that my colleagues will take the strong foundation that we have built to even greater heights. I will be rooting them on as they do.

So what's next? Well, first I'm going to take some time off and reintroduce myself to my wife and family. Six years of intense work, living on airplanes and out of a suitcase, can make you feel like a stranger in your own home. It’s time to assure myself that my wife and daughter remember what I look like, and for me to remember what it's like to spend more than one week at a time in one place. The loss of both my father and father in-law in the last year has put a fine point on the value and power of family for me. I'm also going to dust off my surfboard and spend a little time in the water.

After a brief refresh I will be actively exploring my next great adventure. Here are the 6 market dynamics that I feel will shape what I do next:

  1. The Intersection of Paid, Earned & Owned Media: In their Marketing and Advertising Report 2012; Outsell projected that B2B marketers now spend $72 billion annually on their own direct-to-consumer digital marketing. Driving this shift is the focus on customer engagement and the opportunity to earn additional exposure from this engagement. A significant opportunity exists for applications, tools and services that enable marketers to integrate paid, earned & owned media, simplify the process and drive performance.
  2. The Transformation of Live Events Through Social, Local and Mobile Media: In an increasingly fragmented media world, the ultimate scarcity is bringing high demographic people together in one place at one time around common interests. We will see a deep integration of social, local and mobile technologies that will revolutionize live media and extend the live experience before, during and after events.
  3. Digital Media & Marketing: New technologies, tools and applications will continue to accelerate the transformation of the media and marketing industries. Tablets and other mobile devices are still at the early stage of their impact. We've only begun to see the potential of video and other visual platforms. The range of marketing automation, data analysis and other analytic tools coming out is staggering. We are at the nascent stages of what will ultimately become a massive industry.
  4. The Return of Branded Content: People are far more interested in what their friends, family, colleagues and trusted members of their social graph are doing, reading, writing and viewing than in "searching" the web. Many web publishers, however, have focused so intently on optimizing for search engines that their sites look like cars at a NASCAR race. This creates an opportunity for a new generation of branded, content-rich sites and applications designed to build and serve ongoing communities, and provide new platforms for marketers.
  5. Application-Based Media: Mobile apps have changed the way we think about content and online engagement. The ability to integrate audio, video, the social layer and other applications to enhance the user experience is incredible, and we are seeing new, innovative applications built every day -- including media that is embedded directly into work flow applications. These are shifts that will ultimately change the way we think about media itself.
  6. The Return of Smart Money: In the early days of the web, venture firms introduced the idea of "Smart Money" — which includes access to management experience and other resources with the funding. Today’s lean start up movement has created a renewed demand for early-stage company structures that include access to Smart Money, driving tremendous opportunities for early-stage companies in media, marketing and technology.
There is no lack of opportunity in the market. As I explore these trends, I also hope to find a bit more time to write and discuss the market dynamics that are shaping the future of our industry, and I plan on expanding on some of these trends in future posts.

Let me know your thoughts on these trends and others you see. And drop me line about interesting opportunities you see in the marketplace.,

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