The Demise of CMO
As you may know, CMO was one of ASBPE's two Magazine of the Year award winners last year, when it was only in its first year of publication (CMO was the winner in the under-80,000 circulation division.) In fact, CMO won quite a few awards in its short life.
In a letter to readers, chief editor Rob O'Regan expresses hope that the suspension will be temporary. I hope that's true. In any case, the web site will stay up for now, and the magazine's blog will continue to be updated.
CXO has started five publications to date. With the demise of CMO, now only two have survived--CSO and CIO. (Webmaster and Darwin also folded their print magazines, although the Darwin franchise still exists as a web site and a newsletter.) At September's ASBPE Boston chapter meeting, CXO Media executive editor Lew McCreary noted that CSO would turn a profit for the first time in 2005--its third year of publication. But apparently CMO's problems were bad enough that the company couldn't wait three years for things to improve.
Maybe part of the problem can be chalked up to launching during a relatively soft ad market, or to a relatively new audience. It certainly seems as if CMO did a lot of things right. In making decisions about the editorial direction for some of its other publications, McCreary said, the folks at CXO largely "went with their gut." But for CMO, they took a different approach. They interviewed a lot of CMOs. They got IDG research services to do "rigorous" research (McCreary's adjective) to find out what CMOs buy and confirm that CMOs would be interested in receiving a publication that met their needs.
And CXO didn't ignore reader feedback, either, even when that feedback was negative. After CSO's launch, for instance, McCreary got a lot of mail from readers saying they not getting the editorial approach right and were missing a great opportunity. Instead of getting offended, he called some of those readers in for a conference. "They berated us for about two hours about what a crappy job we were doing with this great opportunity," he said at the chapter meeting, but added, "Our progress was accelerated greatly by the input we got."
Addendum, 5:27 p.m.: According to Folio: magazine, the CMO site will come down on March 1, although Rob O'Regan doesn't mention that in his letter to readers. Folio:'s article on CMO's folding was one of the more informative pieces. BtoB also ran a short item about it.
Update, Jan. 20: For those who might have missed Rob O'Regan's comment on this post, CMO magazine has no plans to shut down its site on March 1. They plan to keep the site live as they consider their options.
Rob O'Regan, CXO Media