It is the time of the year where many of us look back and review what was accomplished — what improvements were made and evaluate top priorities for the current year.
At Professional Builder this is a most pleasing experience. The look back over the past year brings memories of many positive improvements and achievements by a staff of which I am quite proud.
The first significant improvement to our magazine was the massive undertaking of the redesign, which we launched in September. Professional Builder partnered with Iridium Group, an award-winning New York firm, to lead the redesign effort. Principal Dwight Flinchum and Designer Lori Ende worked with the PB team to create a visually exciting palette that improved readability. Heather McCune, Editorial Director, and Bill Patton Art Director, did a remarkable job in executing the redesign. In fact, Iridium said of the 180 publications they have redesigned, PB's team did the best job of implementation.
Second we hired Brand Imprinting, led by consultant Frank Wilberding, to refine our position in the marketplace in an effort to better serve our reader and advertiser needs. His work will also help bring to life our brand: Professional Builder: Helping to Build Profitable Companies, not Just Houses in new and exciting ways. His findings will bring many exciting editorial offerings in the magazine and on our web site, HousingZone.com.
Moreover, our sales force received training from Mr. Wilberding on how to take a "market first" approach rather than a "media first approach." To the advertiser, "market first" means that we "generate ROI not just media exposure."
Third, you may be accustomed to receiving one of two supplements along with your issue of PB — GIANTS or Luxury Home Builder depending on your type of business. Beginning with this issue you will no longer receive these "supplements" along with PB.
Luxury Home Builder becomes Custom Builder magazine and debuts this month as a stand alone publication received by qualified subscribers, 6× per year. Custom Builder circulation will consist of builders that build at least three custom homes per year, valued at $400,000 plus, excluding land.
Starting in February, GIANTS will become a stand alone publication received by builders who build a minimum of 100 homes per year.
Knowing that each of these publications reaches a specific segment of the residential construction industry, our editors can mold the editorial focus to each of their specific design and management needs. (If you meet the circulation requirements and would like to receive your own personal subscription to these publications, drop me an e-mail at email@example.com and I will get your subscription started.)
For those of you attending the International Builders Show this month you will note another major improvement to one of our products, Show Village. Dean Horowitz, Director, Strategy and Product Development, made the decision to contract with Jack Morton Worldwide to ensure that Show Village 2005 is the most memorable experience for attendees and participating building product manufacturers. Jack Morton Worldwide was responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. We have also arranged to have the Levy organization, a leading restaurant company, provide food service for this event.
Fifth, we launched a 14th Issue, "Best Sellers In The Top Markets." Working with MetroStudy, we identified the most popular floor plans in the top markets and the teams that built them. As builders seek to improve efficiencies by streamlining the number of plans built, this issue will be a valuable resource.
Additionally, we added internal resources by expanding our sales force and adding a Director of Marketing to our team. We have invested heavily in our business with the goal of becoming an even more indispensable business partner with you, our reader.
While we are pleased with what was accomplished in 2004, we have already laid plans for many more improvements in the coming year. In late December our executive team set aside an entire day to determine the critical issues for 2005. We hope you have taken time to review 2004, acknowledge your accomplishments, and determine what went right and what went wrong. We wish you continued success in 2005 and look forward to "Helping You Build Profitable Companies, not Just Houses."