Schulman: The View From Dow Jones & Co.
by Barbara Brynko
This month, Scott Schulman is celebrating his first year as president of corporate markets at Dow Jones & Co. But he’s far from being a newcomer to the company.
He first crossed the threshold at Dow Jones in 1999, when he became vice president of strategic planning and development, and it turned out to be a good match. So good, in fact, that he soon added responsibilities for Dow Jones Interactive Publishing. Two years later, he was promoted to president of Dow Jones Consumer Electronic Publishing, where he developed a liking for internet businesses that served the enterprise and consumer markets.
By 2006, he rounded out his skills set as chief strategy officer at Dow Jones and senior vice president of global sales and marketing of The Wall Street Journal franchise. Over the past several years, he led the Dow Jones Financial Information Services businesses, focused on specialized business information.
Today, he has a rather commanding view of the Dow Jones & Co. landscape. After nearly 12 years in his many leadership positions, Schulman has firsthand knowledge of each of the key markets that he now oversees.
Four Key Business Areas
As president of Dow Jones corporate markets, which includes Factiva, Schulman’s domain comprises all the business information services that the company sells to outside enterprises. “Dow Jones reorganized at the beginning of the calendar year  into four broad business areas: print, consumer digital, financial markets and newswires, and corporate markets/professional, which is all the business information products,” he says.
While his job is to focus on big products such as Factiva in the enterprise, there are other corporate-focused products in specialized vertical sectors, including risk and compliance, PR and corporate communications, energy and commodities, and enterprise solutions, which include other offerings broadly focused on the corporate customer.
As the print and digital markets evolve, Schulman says he keeps his eye on the big picture and on multichannel delivery options. “First and foremost is the information,” he says. “We want to make sure that we are delivering the right content to users in whatever format they want.” While some people want their data as digital-only for mobile devices from iPads to Androids, others are still finding comfort in the printed page. Schulman says The Wall Street Journal is thriving in the digital space, especially via the reach of WSJ’s mobile apps. But WSJ is also thriving in print with the addition of more sections and more journalists. “We think print is going to be around [for] years to come,” he says, “and in the corporate space for us, it’s all about delivering the important content that people need, though some of it originates in print, some of it originates on the web, some of it originates in premium databases or newswires, and some of it as blogs.”
He sees increasing activity across the board in the mobile arena. For customers in sales or partners in professional services, making sure the service works well on mobile devices is the bigger issue, he says. Many publishers are now discovering that tablets are opening up new ways to reach customers along with plenty of new business opportunities. “We want to do everything we can to help them succeed to reach their customers,” he says, “and these new devices are good ways for them to expand their offerings and, hopefully, thrive in the new world.”
Focusing on the Customer
Moving in sync with the client base is critical in turning out responsive products, tools, and services. Feedback and input are always key drivers in Dow Jones’ product planning through client visits, advisory boards, focus groups, customer meetings, and primary and secondary research. “We get help from outside specialists and experts about what they are seeing in the market,” he says, “so we have many different channels that we use, which are all very important to me when we think about where we want to focus moving forward.”
Despite the industry challenges of information overload, emerging mobile devices, and a troubled economy, Dow Jones has been true to its corporate mission of providing the highest quality news and information to help businesspeople and consumers make good business decisions.
“I think that mission continues,” says Schulman, “and I think News Corp.’s acquisition of Dow Jones has only added to that mission by saying that we are providing information that helps the global economy work well.”
In the corporate market, Dow Jones provides news, information, and insight that helps businesspeople and companies make some of their most important decisions, manage risks, generate revenues, and lower costs, he says, adding that News Corp. has always been a great influence on that mission because of its global thinking, aggressiveness, and belief in the power of quality information and aggregation. “A big part of our value proposition in the corporate market is about aggregating content and News Corp., whether it’s through satellite television or sites like Hulu, recognizing that aggregating content is a big part of its role as a global information company,” says Schulman.
Bringing Value to the Enterprise
Information professionals and librarians are—and have been—important customers and partners. “We want to help the research professionals demonstrate the value that businesses like ours bring to the enterprise,” he says. Products such as Dow Jones Consultant are using the power of the Factiva platform and making it as relevant as possible to people in the enterprise.
Before he joined Dow Jones, Schulman had been a partner and research analyst in a top consulting firm in New York City, so he has experience as a Factiva customer. He knows the market and its pain points well. Dow Jones Consultant lets consultants get a quick read on what’s going on with their key clients and prospects to generate insight and thought leadership powered by thousands of Factiva sources.
Schulman says he has been impressed with how clearly librarians express the depth and breadth of their roles, especially at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual conference he attended last June in New Orleans. “The research librarians are very innovative in how they help their companies cut through all the noise and information overload,” he says. “They can find cost-effective ways in these days of budget trimming to manage the social media, focus on the issues, and find new ways of getting information to users.” And although there’s plenty of free content on the web, the value of professional aggregation, analysis, and filtering are more important than ever before.
And what about competitors? Schulman says there are a few, but Dow Jones doesn’t see the web as one of them. “A service like Factiva has thousands and thousands of resources that you can’t get on the free web anyway,” says Schulman. “Our clients get that. They understand the value that a service like ours has.” And at the end of the day, he sees the value in having the best content in most of the regions around the globe.
“We have the breadth of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal [WSJ] content that we continue to enrich in Factiva,” he says. Plus, the WSJ keeps adding more journalists and more sections that not only make our offerings stronger, but it also improves our content.” Tools such as automatic translation and newsletter distribution in the enterprise have set Dow Jones as the clear leader in the marketplace.
Building the Brand
“We feel very confident that companies that try to rely on the free web are beginning to recognize the power of a professional service,” he says. In the new branding campaign for Factiva, the big message is that users can surf the web and waste time, or they can rely on a service that’s in the business of helping executives and their teams find the best sources, put them into a usable format, and discover insight from content to make sound decisions and help enterprises run smoothly.
Going forward, Schulman is busy working on short- and long-term strategies for the business. He’s concentrating on creating enhancements in the tools and products in four key areas that will keep the company in step with the evolving marketplace and in meeting the needs of the users. “We’re pursuing significant investment and improvement in our core search, metadata, user experience, and content,” he says.
With a long history of services and enterprise tools embedded in the Dow Jones heritage, quality matters. “Research-based information has intrinsic value,” says Schulman. “It’s different than what you can stumble across on the web or in the blogosphere.” There is great content out there but lots of junk too. For Schulman, seeing is believing: “We’re true believers that quality does make a difference.”