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More on the end of CMO

When I first heard that CMO magazine was folding, I held out hope that the Web site might survive. But that was wishful thinking. And within a few hours, it became clear that the electronic product would also close.
Consider what this means. The CMO enterprise -- print, Web site, bloggers, etc. -- was one of the best things ever produced in B2B media.
Yet it couldn't survive.

A few hours before I heard the news about CMO, I was on the phone with a new client who is revamping an online product (FULL DISCLOSURE: Sorry, this client has requested anonymity.) We talked about new competitors -- bloggers, low-cost newsletters, etc. And he suggested that his best defense was in a "flight to quality."
Now I would never suggest that quality is not important. Nor would I suggest that it does not provide a competitive advantage. But I am sometimes skittish about a publication that sees its advantage as quality. That's chiefly because such publications are often not as good as the folks who work on them think they are.
But CMO is a perfect example of a product where quality was its chief advantage. CMO was magnificent. It was as good as things get in our business. And that's why it attracted so much attention from those of us who care about quality.
Yet it couldn't survive.

So today I'm worried.
I'm worried that too many people in our industry will see the death of CMO as proof that quality doesn't matter. I'm worried that too many number crunchers will see the death of CMO as an argument against incurring the expense of good design, original content and quality staff.

Certainly CMO had some disadvantages as well.
Most obviously, it served a niche that may very well be overserved. Furthermore, CMO was based in a suburban office park in Massachusetts, but covered an industry that is based largely in New York City.
And perhaps those disadvantages can explain why CMO had to die.
But I can't stop thinking about how great a publication it was. I can't stop thinking about how many times I have pointed to it as an example of just how good B2B journalism can be. Nor can I shake the worry that CMO did everything we could ever ask a staff to do: creating a series of wonderful products across the entire spectrum of media.
Yet it couldn't survive.

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