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January 15, 2005

Forrester launches magazine

By Charlene Li

As the San Jose Mercury News reported today, Forrester is launching a magazine in February. Below is a quick excerpt of Q&A from Brian Kardon, Forrester’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer.

My take: it’s about time Forrester launched a magazine. Our core business, as Brian says below, is intellectual capital. But it’s hard for busy executives to find the time to read research, even if we push it to them via email, online, RSS, and yes, even blogs! The multi-channel approach is much needed to break through and capture the attention of our clients, and I’m thrilled that Forrester is doing this.

Here’s a sneak peak at the cover art (Download cover_art.pdf) – the lead story is “Is Your Company Evil” with the predictable halos over the Google founders’ heads. But check out the back cover, which shows them with horns and tails. Read it into what you will – I think that there are always two sides to every story.

Speaking of which, SiliconBeat gave some additional background on the Mercury News story, including a quote from Steve Cohn of Media Industry Newsletter questioning Forrester’s credibility and value. His opinion is based primarily on forecasts Forrester made more than five years ago during the boom (I wrote several of those reports myself – mea culpa). There’s no doubt, we suffered set backs, but I also believe that our clients get more than just numbers from us to stuff into their presentations. Forrester’s value comes from our ability to provide ideas and analysis on the latest technology issues – to say “what it means” and to inspire clients to think broadly about the impact of technology on their businesses. My hope is that we’ll be able to extend the influence of those ideas through new channels like the magazine (and also this blog).

Enough already of my impassioned support of my employer! On to Brian’s Q&A:

Why is Forrester starting a magazine?

“Three reasons:
1. Reach. We continue to be amazed at the power of print. Despite our own Web-centric behavior, interviews with clients confirm that many senior decision makers do not go to the Web regularly for our type of content. But they do read McKinsey Quarterly and Fortune. A savvy print publication can reach this audience.
2. Influence. Our research has the ability to influence the business and technology agenda worldwide, but only if it is read. Our ideas provide valuable frameworks to get people talking and unconventional approaches to keeping them talking.
3. Leverage. The magazine will leverage two key Forrester assets: our extraordinary content and our powerful and respected brand name. The magazine leverages both by incorporating the work of top-quality outside writers and thinkers.”

Huh? Forrester is entering a crowded field of business magazines. How is Forrester’s magazine different? Why should a busy CEO read Forrester?

“No reason to be so testy. Forrester intends to offer the intellectual rigor of the high-end journals (e.g., Harvard Business Review) and match it with the lively presentation of the more general interest business magazines (e.g., BusinessWeek). The voice of the magazine will be authoritative, forward-looking, iconoclastic, edgy, surprising and humorous.”

Is Forrester going into the magazine business?

“Yes and no. As you know, there are numerous ways to access Forrester … attend an event, join an Oval, listen to a ForrTel, search WV2, etc. Some of us call it multi-channelling. The magazine is a yet another distinctive format, or channel, for showcasing our research and getting Forrester ideas out into the market.

Forrester’s product – intellectual capital – is an intangible. From my experience, selling an intangible is among the hardest things to do. The magazine shows the breadth and depth of what Forrester has to offer, in a portable and friendly format, and serves as a compelling leave-behind for prospects. The magazine offers a new way to deliver fresh, provocative ideas to the people who need to know about them.”

How many issues are we publishing this year?

“We are planning to publish 3 issues in 2005. The premiere issue, though, is likely to be a valuable and coveted collectible on eBay around 2015. So, we strongly suggest you keep the magazine in pristine condition for the inevitable swell of demand.”

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