FEATURE 

Opportunities & Threats: B2B Media

Carolyn Morgan assesses the outlook for the B2B media sector.

By Carolyn Morgan

Opportunities & Threats: B2B Media
Photograph: Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash.

Every sector of the economy has been disrupted in the last couple of years: good news for providers of business news and information. Most B2B publishers I know report a big increase in online traffic and newsletter engagement as their audiences are hungry to learn about trends and best practice in an uncertain environment. But the loss of in-person events and the ins and outs of lockdowns and travel restrictions has been challenging for event revenues. Let’s deal with the threats and risks first, and then explore the opportunities.

Threats and risks:

  • Live event uncertainty: this is likely to continue into 2022, with corporates particularly cautious about international travel. It pays to negotiate flexible deals with venues, and have a plan B for reduced delegates, and even a plan C for a pivot to virtual.
  • Decline in traditional ad revenue: print and digital display ads are heading down, as customers take a closer look at their marketing spend. Plus, recruitment ads and job boards will continue to be eroded by Indeed and LinkedIn. Reduce your exposure to old ad forms, and build marketing solutions (see below)
  • Anonymous readers not valued: B2B marketers are rightly focused on analytics, measurement and leads. If your digital content is still unregistered, get that sorted fast.
  • Talent acquisition and retention: working from home has opened up more opportunities for experienced staff – so we will have to work harder to retain our teams.

Opportunities:

  • Reader analytics: whether you have free registration or paid subs, the intelligence available on who is reading what and when is gold dust for your advertisers. Harness it.
  • Multiple formats: go beyond the article and engage your audience with podcasts, panels, videos, data journalism, in-depth reports, e-learning and searchable datasets.
  • Virtual events: fabulous for growing reach, testing out topics and speakers, and creating valuable video content from live sessions. Build them into your calendar of events and don’t bank solely on in-person.
  • Marketing solutions: work with your advertisers to target audiences, co-create valuable content and promote across multiple channels to deliver thought leadership and qualified leads.
  • Digital subscriptions: identify who in your audience will value packaged content and build a subscription proposition to develop a recurring revenue stream. Then move onto enterprise or corporate subscriptions.
  • Membership and communities: consider how to maintain the conversation online in between events and conferences, share best practice and deepen relationships. A good B2B brand is about more than content, you connect the industry you serve.
  • Blended workplace: look beyond your former borders for sales, marketing and tech talent and learn how to make hybrid workplaces productive

A good B2B brand is about more than content, you connect the industry you serve.


This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2022, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here and view the digital edition of the PPG here.