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This week I’ve been digging into the second round of our 2024 budgets, as well as the ever-evolving 2023 forecast. On the budgets we’ve got some work to do, as cost pressures continue to at least keep pace with growing revenue. A second or third look at the expense side and some new revenue ideas and we’ll get there.

The 2023 forecast is a little more challenging, as the runway is getting short. If nothing changes, we will likely miss our profit target by about 10%. We will miss last year’s by the same margin, neither of which represent a sustainable trend. For perspective, a 10% bottom line miss for Annex is a big deal, especially as we look to continue investing in new initiatives, positions and technology. And all that assumes we achieve our current forecasts for September and October, so naturally we have that as a focus. But while the runway is getting shorter, there is still room to make the landing a bit smoother.

On that front, the management team discussed some ideas this week that would allow us to put a serious dent in that gap. We’ve landed on a simple yet effective idea - each and every brand will target a theme week or themed enews for the month of October. Having launched more than a few theme weeks and enews in my terrifyingly long B2B career, I can assure you that every market has several subjects that will resonate with reader and vendor alike. Good candidates typically involve a topic that:
  • Is top of mind for the sector, perhaps something that is ranking high on your Google Analytics, is “the buzz” or is on many conference agendas;
  • Has been previously well received by audiences and marketers, but in a different format. As concrete examples, PPE for women in the safety market, lumber drying tech in forestry, sustainability in packaging, cyber security, etc…;
  • Involves a category of vendors that doesn't often book programs but responds very well to related content and/or FOMO;
  • And allows you to draw on existing content from your archives with a little tweaking.
If you’re feeling stuck for ideas and want to brainstorm, or would like to discuss client packages, please reach out and I’ll happily make time for a chat. I adore ideation around content. Please share your success with me and I’ll dream up fantastic prizes for most creative concept and highest additional revenue.

The idea is that if each brand generates $3,500+ on these mini-projects we will meaningfully trim that bottom-line gap, getting us closer to 2021 and 2022 levels. Group publishers will discuss with their brand teams, and of course ideas are welcome from one and all.

Do good work, and be good to work with.

Scott Jamieson, President & COO
sjamieson@annexbusinessmedia.com; mobile: 519-410-4000

Virtual Trolls

Once again, there were too many trolls to display here, so have a look yourself on The Wall.

To Maria P, for Being Agile
From Adam S – “We were all set in the Simcoe office yesterday to run a virtual event when all of a sudden the office went black, power outage! Maria immediately stepped in off-site to help execute the virtual event. The event ran flawlessly, with no hiccups. Thank you for your agility Maria!”

To Doug P, for Owning It
From Amanda – “Doug just did it again! Another fantastic job hosting a powerful webinar in HPAC this week. The success of great registration numbers, high percent of attendance and A LOT of comments and questions is thanks to Doug’s skill and knowledge. Both are reflected in attendees reaching out post event to thank us for providing this value to the industry.”

To Kristin, for Working Together
From Anne – “Kristin has been very patient while I have asked a lot of questions during budget time. The process wouldn't have been quite the same without Kristin's help and answers to assist along the way. She is always so responsive and delightful, which helps to make thing easier. Thank you so much, Kristin. I really appreciate you and your efforts!”

Team News

Early bundle
I don’t want to say we jinxed Kristine D last week with all the talk about babies, but things did happen quickly afterwards. Meet Ayvin Deokaran! This little bundle of impatient joy arrived unexpectedly this week, but he is here and healthy, born Aug 26 at 3:25 am.

Fame & Fortune
Our own Vesna has been celebrated as part of Magazines Canada’s Women in Publishing series. You can read the full interview and some of Vesna’s career advice here.

What's Working

AI for the rest of us!
We’ve talked about it… we’ve played with it… now get ready for the implementation of it for the rest of us. Sham has worked behind our Wordpress curtains to bring the first real world usage of AI to our brand sites, all within our present workflow. We’re starting with title selection for articles that recommend five suggestions based on the main body of the article. These are based on more clickable and SEO friendly queries that will push better search results and click-through rates within enews and site articles.

And I’m sure you see that old-school Twitter logo in there which gives us a glimpse of what else is coming when it comes to AI at your fingertips. Think LinkedIn, Twitter, Digital Edition Notification blurbs to start.

You’ll also notice the “Explore more AI services’ button on the right. This feature we’re keeping under wraps for now but rest assured when Sham is excited about something… we should all be!

All of it coming soon to an Annex brand site near you!

Pero’s Open Dialogue

When we are physically unwell, it can negatively impact our mental well-being. As the warm summer days wind down, it might be tough to muster up the motivation to exercise. That's why it's absolutely essential to prioritize both physical and mental health as we step into the fall. Physical activity in particular plays a major role in keeping mental health in check. Discover how regular exercise can help you prevent and manage mental health issues, while fostering resilience for your overall well-being by reading this article listing six mental health benefits of doing physical activity.

P.S. Annexathon is slated to start in September so bring out the running/walking shoes, get ready to walk/bike/run with your colleagues and look out for its launch Addendum.