CHICAGO—John Suhler, president and founding general partner of Veronis Suhler Stevenson,began his luncheon keynote on day two of American Business Media’s Top Management meeting here by saying that all feedback he’s received about the current state of the industry has been “suck, suck, suck!” He said that all ABM attendees “should feel in good company—there are very few bright lights in this environment,” a statement that drew both laughter and positive acknowledgement.Despite his description, Suhler was still able to provideanalysis on how to leverage brand equity based on media’s past thirty years.“Media spend has outgrown GDP by a couple of hundred basis points,” he said. “Solong term, generally broad-base media spend is outpacing economic growthconsistently over the many recessions and resets that we’ve had.” Suhler briefly discussed VSS’ b-to-b media investments (VSSis an investor in FOLIO: parent company Red 7 Media) and gave ABM members aquick look at a select section of its portfolio, suggesting that b-to-b mediacompanies bridge the growing gap through opportunities with targeted businessinformation services.Mark DiMassimo, CEO and creative director of DiMassimoGoldstein, talked about the industry from a marketing perspective. “As someonewho sells innovation and help clients face reality, I count on denial andunderestimation of change,” he said. “I expect most institutions that we workwith to get it wrong.” Of advertisers, he assured attendees, 64 percent continue toview business media as important. “User generated content is also important,especially in vertical markets,” he added, citing feedback from surveyed advertisers.During Tuesday’s first session, IDG CEO Bob Carriganintroduced Booz & Company panelists to speak about the results of Booz& Company’s survey, “A Roadmap for Profitable Growth.” Booz partners HarryHawkes Jr. and Matt Egol discussed how b-to-b and information companies aretransforming their capabilities to drive profitable growth, citing twopredominant paths that business media companies can take: marketers and endusers. While many companies do one or the other well, the study confirmed thatfew, if any, are able to excel at both.