The last decade was a turbulent, but rather exciting one for b2b media brands. Navigating a path from primarily print to mainly digital production meant that many companies had to look very closely at their core revenue sources. For some, like Berlin based company Vogel Communications, it meant a significant revamp of its portfolio of services.
At DIS 2020 the company's chairman and managing director, Matthias Bauer, will explain what drove those changes and how they were implemented. He will also outline his vision for the Vogel of tomorrow - a company that works across digital, print, events and more while at the same time is very focused on nurturing and acquiring startup businesses. A truly 21st century b2b media organisation.
Outline your journey to Vogel Communications?
I started as a student at Vogel working on my final master thesis and got stuck to this very interesting company. I am fortunate enough to have had some great opportunities in the company to develop my career and bring in my strategic ideas.
Explain to those who don't know what Vogel Communications is? What does your day to day role in the company look like?
The Vogel Communications Group delivers all kind of communication services and – this is the special part - we have access to 14 markets through around 100 b2b media platforms, in print, digital and events. My part is to develop our strategy and new businesses, i.e. our network of agencies. I am also in charge of changing the culture of our company in times of digitalisation and transformation to become one of the leading partners for b2b communication.
Vogel has a very wide range of products from numerous B2B print and online titles through to agency and technology offerings. What are the key factors/beliefs that unify them?
We make our customers successful in their markets through knowledge, business information and communication services. We build new digital communities for new markets and we bring people together at high performing business events. Over all it’s the excellent communication that helps our customers!
What is at the heart of your Vogel 2022 strategy? And how far are you down the line in this process?
We started with this strategy in 2017 so we are about half way through the process. At 2022 we will start the next phase on our strategic journey. Basically we will transform the media company into a communication company, with all crucial communication techniques and formats you need for 360 degree b2b communication. This includes a new and strict ‘one-face-to-the-customer-strategy’ as well as a product marketing of our media products close to the brands. It also means an intensive communication of all the competences within the group and the management of knowledge within the organisation.
Print seems to be making a comeback? Do you think that in the rush to digital b2b print titles were overlooked. What do you think their future will be?
We trust in print, as long as it is premium print, that means high quality journalism, high quality production and a lower, exclusive frequency. Then print remains to be a perfect part in the communication and information mix. And it will be completed by digital products like communities and also face-to-face-communication on b2b events for personal networking.
What was the catalyst for the development of the agency side of your business – and how are you working with brands?
Communication budgets are growing, while traditional media budgets are declining. The tools, channels, formats and techniques of corporate communication are growing and since we follow the budgets of our customers we also have to offer much more communication services, especially into the markets we are established and familiar with.
What type of businesses are you looking to invest in via Vogel Ventures. All media? Or from other fields too?
We continuously work on our M&A strategy. Media is still a part of it, but not the main focus. We rather focus on tools and techniques for knowledge and market insights in our national and international markets.
You have a passion for startups? How do you think Berlin is faring as a startup city? How could you make it better for startups?
Yes, I have a passion for startups and for Berlin is a vibrant startup scene. This is because of my digital background, but also because I lived here for six years and have a widespread network. I don’t think Berlin is declining, but changing. I strongly believe that Berlin has the chance to develop new b2b platforms and digital tools especially for the industrial markets and therefore to succeed in the competition with Asia and North America.