Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer

COMMENT

Opportunities & Threats: B2B Media

Colin Morrison's article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2017

Colin Morrison

Posted on: 03 February 2017

It is too easy to think about how we can adapt existing media businesses without considering how the technologies that have disrupted them have actually changed the attitudes and expectations of readers-users.

Think about it. The web gives B2B readers the opportunity to find out almost anything. Much of the information that once only publishers could supply is now at the fingertips of executives everywhere. The web helps domestic businesses become global. It helps them produce their own media. And they can be in constant contact with their staff, customers and suppliers.

The readers-users of B2B media, therefore, increasingly want and need something totally different.

I believe these changed expectations include the following:

1. Readers-users are increasingly aware of what information is exclusive and that which is freely available. Digital media (since iTunes) has trained customers to pay only for what they actually want. Many publishers insist on maintaining their traditional ‘all or nothing’ approach to readers even in digital format, simply because they fear that anything else might risk cannibalising the print sales on which they still depend. While ‘de-constructing’ the package may not be risk-free in the short-term, a failure to give customers the choice will be self-defeating in the long-term. Many publications have columnists, exclusive information and statistics which readers will value highly and pay for. In the consumer space, the New York Times now has more than 300,000 subscribers just for its daily crossword puzzle. B2B information companies must also develop exclusive, high-value information that people cannot get anywhere else.

2. Readers-users will, increasingly, be unwilling to accept advertising with paid-for content. Most information will either have to be principally paid-for by subscribers or by advertisers. Not both. This can become more critical in digital simply because – like it or not – it is easier to skip past a print ad than it is when the same ad is blocking a smartphone screen. Again, publishers which ignore this reality may risk being beaten by competitors which don’t have an existing business to defend. An email publication from Silicon Valley, The Information, shows what can be done. It has become soundly profitable by generating just two exclusive stories each day and by charging $400 for a subscription. It carries no advertising.

3. Readers-users are increasingly interested in the views of their peers. Technology gives the opportunity to get testimonials from people who have bought something or been somewhere before us and the same goes for businesses. This ‘practical networking’ will make B2B readers increasingly keen on becoming members of connected communities for benchmarking and even e-commerce. It’s why - in this virtual world - exhibitions, conferences and other events have thrived on bringing people together.

There’s plenty of opportunity – as long as B2B media focus on what the reader-user really needs and wants.

“The readers-users of B2B media increasingly want and need something totally different.”

About Colin Morrison
(Details last updated: 1 February 2018)

Colin Morrison has been a CEO of B2B and B2C companies in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. He is now an investor, director and strategic adviser for media in the UK and Australia. He also writes the long-form media blog Flashes & Flames and was honoured as an “influencer” in the US-based Folio:100 for 2016. Colin was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List “for charitable services to Vulnerable Young People”.

comments powered by Disqus

Most read on InPublishing

These are the most read stories on the InPublishing website over the last 14 days, in order from the top.

Articles

Off The Page

David Hepworth
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Paper choices: 5 minutes with… Danny Doogan

Danny Doogan
Posted on: 6 September 2018

Unreliable sources

James Evelegh
Posted on: 6 September 2018

Building affiliate revenue streams: dos and don’ts

Keith Walker
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Revenue first

James Evelegh
Posted on: 13 September 2018

Be the change makers

James Evelegh
Posted on: 24 July 2018

ABCs: the pluses

James Evelegh
Posted on: 23 August 2018

Events: no longer an add-on

Ciar Byrne
Posted on: 24 July 2018

Pet magazines

Alan Geere
Posted on: 24 July 2018

How to boost your branded content offer

Graham Hayday
Posted on: 19 July 2018

This list is based on data from Google Analytics, and is refreshed every 24 hours. (Last updated: 20/09/2018 05:46)

Find out more about

InPub Weekly: Sign-up

Click here to sign up for our free weekly email newsletter:

Sign up now!

Magazine registration

Next Top Tips Webinar

7 Top Tips for Saving Time & Money on Editorial Contributions

2.30-3.00pm (BST), Tuesday 16 October 2018

Clair Lawson

Webinar sponsored by

Publishing Partners Guide

Guide to paid-content