What’s in Store for 2022: A Conversation with Jim Langhenry, President and Co-Founder, CFE Media and Technology

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When CFE Media and Technology released its newest magazine brand, Oil & Gas Engineering, in 2016, the company performed an overhaul of their three other brands, Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Plant Engineering, to match. Since then, however, the magazines have remained the same—until now.

In 2022, all CFE Media and Technology brands will be receiving a redesign to fit the ever-changing wants and needs of their engineering subscribers.

I sat down with Jim Langhenry, President and Co-Founder of CFE Media and Technology, to discuss what can be expected from this magazine redesign and what more is come for the CFE Media publication brands in the coming year.

McKenzie Burns: Thanks for joining me today, Jim. I’m going to start with what’s hopefully an easy question. Can you let me know the last time the magazines went through a redesign?

Jim Langhenry: Yes. We did a redesign in 2016, and it was based on a research study we sent to our engineer subscribers, asking them what else would they like to see as far as content in the magazine. How can we improve the aesthetics of the magazine? So, we did a complete redesign that made it a little bit simpler on the cover, not as busy, we tried to improve some graphics, but it’s nothing like you’re going to see next year.

Burns: And how were readers considered when making decisions for the redesign? Because these new changes are going to effective for two audiences: the readers and advertisers. So, can you start by telling me a little bit how the readers were taken into consideration?

Langhenry: Sure. So, like I said earlier, our readers are made up of mainly engineers. So, we did a research study to our engineers, which we do now every year, asking them what type of content they would like to see inside the print and digital edition? And we asked them, how can we improve the aesthetics once again, of the actual print and digital editions?

Regarding the advertising community, during the pandemic, we started a manufacturing advisory board membership—MAB, we call it. So, we brought in some of our top clients to be part of this board. We actually had three meetings so far, where we brought in guest speakers to talk about manufacturing and best practices in marketing. But we went to them and asked them, since they spend a lot of money on branding and in the print and digital editions, what else could we can do to improve it?

The whole idea of the redesign was based on the pandemic. We made sure that all our subscribers, when they moved into their house or somewhere outside the office, we made sure that we had all their email addresses and sent them the digital edition.

So, we did convert a lot of subscribers to our digital edition during the pandemic, because that’s what they asked for. And hence doing that, we said we need to improve on our digital edition, and we should also improve on the print. So, we improved the print edition by making it larger, make it have more graphs, more charts, and better photos.

Burns: Awesome. Next, what do you think, if you were to pick any benefit or anything that’s happening with this new redesign—one thing only for the engineers—what do you think they are going to benefit from the absolute most?

Langhenry: Good question. When it comes to subscribers, based on their research, they said they want to see better fonts, better graphs, easier to read, so the larger type font, more peer tope articles, more content, always. They want to see our content to help them do their job better. This platform, with the new redesign, will give us that opportunity, but we also got to take and effect the digital edition.

We are working closely with technology at CFE Media and Technology on improving the digital experience. So, that is going to be really a great benefit also to the subscribers, as well as the advertisers. The advertisers will be able to have links that take the engineers right to where the product offering is, to a video that shows them the product. And as far as CFE Media, the digital edition will be able to have more likable story links. So now in print, you see several different articles that will take you to further resources to help them do their job better, but in the digital edition they can click right on it.

It’s more environmentally friendly with the digital edition. You can pass along the articles much easier. You don’t have to tear sheet them and scan them, and you can actually ask for comments in real time in the digital edition.

Burns: Those are great new benefits. Then speaking for CFE Media and Technology as a whole… the company has been around for what will be 12 years in 2022. With this new redesign, how do you think that speaks to the growth of the company overall over the last 10-plus years?

Langhenry: Well, we base our company on research to help the engineering community, and we continually invest in technology. We have two patents that we’ve worked on with Contentstream® and Contactstream®. We really pivoted well during the pandemic. We’ve started Virtual Training Week. We have a platform on just training engineers on different topics with CFE Edu®. We continue to invest in our webcast platform, and we continue to invest in all our products.

The pandemic gave us a really good opportunity to take a deep dive on what we’re doing well and what we can improve on. And we are improving on content. We’re improving on the aesthetics of our products. So, not only did we redesign the print and digital edition for 2022, we looked at all our products and asked, “how do we improve them?” And we asked the engineering community what they liked and what else we can do, to do things better.

Burns: You’ve been involved in this whole process of the redesign. So I have to ask what your personal favorite part about it is. And why is that specifically so important to you, or so exciting for you to see?

Langhenry: I also spoke to several subscribers and looked at the research study extensively. What got me excited is that I took it as a challenge of how do we improve the experience to those folks who still want to receive print? Because any engineer that wants to receive the print edition, will be able to receive it. They can also receive both the print and digital edition.

So, not only did I look at the print, how we can improve the aesthetics, how can we improve the content? How can we improve graphics and charts, with the art team, the designer team, the content managers? We also decided that we can improve the digital edition. So, we really looked at our operations manager, and he took upon himself to make sure that the experience of the print and digital edition come together. So, I’m excited about a larger format. I’m excited that the experience for the engineering community will get better in 2022.

Burns: A few questions ago, you mentioned how CFE Media and Technology has been looking at all products, not just the magazine, when it comes to things that will be improved, things that are continuously evolving for engineers. So, are there any other things that are happening in 2022 that you can give us a little teaser about?

Langhenry: First, it starts with the print digital editions. That’s the brand that we have to make sure we get right, but we have to evolve. And we’ve said this since day one at CFE Media and Technology, and my business partner, Steve Rourke, made it very clear that we’re going to provide content and any format that the engineers ask for.

So, if it’s the digital edition, if it’s an eNewsletter, if it’s Virtual Training Week, if it’s a webcast, we are going to invest in the best technology and the best user experience that we can, and we continue to evolve in 2022 with our platforms and investment. So, look out in 2022. The engineers will be able to rely on CFE Media and Technology to receive the best cutting-edge content to help them improve, plan efficiencies, and just their overall operations. No matter if they’re a consulting engineer, a plant engineer, or an automation engineer, they’re going to get the best content from our organization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: McKenzie Burns is a graduate of the University of Dayton with Bachelor’s of Science Degrees in Marketing and International Business Management. She holds multiple years of experience in email marketing, campaign management, event planning, and social media. When she’s not working, she’s penning novels, her first having been published in 2021.

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