The Economist Group is combining its sales and circulation teams, which will be overseen by newly appointed Chief Operating Officer and publisher of The Economist, Michael Brunt.
The combined teams will be called the Publisher Team. The circulation division will contribute its audience access and insights, as well as its products and services. She sales, marketing solutions, events and analytics divisions will sell to clients.
The Economist Group has worked with clients like Blancpain, Biogen and Gilead.
The circulation division was made into its own, standalone business when print advertising was declining and The Economist Group needed to identify “a real market for a sizable audience which we had largely untapped that would be happy to pay for high quality journalism,” Brunt told Publishers Daily.
Brunt was previously managing director and Chief Marketing Officer for circulation.
Under his leadership, circulation became the largest contributor of profits to The Economist Group, which is made up of The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Washington-based CQ Roll Call.
The circulation division doubled its profits, and last year was a record revenue year for the company. In the next five years, Brunt believes The Economist can double its profits again.
One example of the increased marketing The Economist did for its own brand is the food trucks that drove through New York City offering passersby ice cream with insects on top. It was a successful effort to increase brand awareness and bring attention to its coverage of the global food supply.
The move to merge the circulation and sales businesses back together is so The Economist Group can “provide opportunities for clients to crack their marketing challenges and support us in cracking our marketing challenges,” Brunt said.
The company can provide events, content and exposure for its clients to its audience.
“What clients really wanted was access to our marketing expertise and insights and join with us and create something where our values also align,” Brunt said. “If we are operating separately, we are not leveraging the events” fully.
An example of this is The Economist Group’s “Pride and Prejudice” event supporting LGBTQ communities in the workplace. Brunt said clients are partnering with them to show their companies and The Economist’s editorial missions align: to increase diversity and inclusion in businesses.
The Economist does not use native advertising.