Last week, I attended the annual American Business Media Top Management Meeting in Chicago. Rather than its typical multi-topic conference approach, the meeting focused primarily on presenting the results from a major industry study and recommendations from the consulting firm Booz & Co.

I found the approach refreshing, more like a deep-dive seminar than the typical panel-led sessions of most conferences (did I just telegraph my opinion of most conferences?). The Booz & Co. study (as reported by Hamsa Ramesha for Northwestern University’s Medill News Service) focused on “pathways to profitability” for B2B media companies in a period when traditional media is shrinking and digital media is expanding.

As ABM member companies are fully involved in events, digital and print media, it was not a Print vs. Web thing — most companies are way past that. This study was more focused on the question: “Based on the reality we’re living in, what must your company become to be successful in five years?”

Perhaps one of the reasons I really enjoyed the study results may be the way in which the findings and recommendations so closely correspond to much of what we at Hammock have been focused on during the past couple of years.

While I plan to write much more about this in the coming weeks, let me preview it by saying that the Booz & Co. study finds that for business-to-business media companies to succeed, they must focus on one of two pathways: Being a company that serves end-users (subscribers, attendees, etc.) or being a company that serves marketers (custom media, marketing services, etc.). While companies can offer services that target both end-users and marketers, Booz & Co. have not yet found an example of how a company has become a leader in both strategies.

It makes sense to me why they have not, but the reasons why that is so are going to be a part of my follow-up posts on the topic. (How’s that for a tease?)

In the meantime, let me say, we at Hammock know exactly what our pathway is: We are going to continue to serve savvy marketers in their efforts to generate more profitable relationships with their customers or members.

Our services will grow to include even more ways to help marketers accomplish that goal via print and all forms of digital and online media. Our services will also grow in ways that will offer marketers the means to measure and manage such programs in ways that clearly provide tangible business benefits to our clients.

We look forward to the continuation of this journey. And I look forward to posting more about it over the coming weeks.