Interview: Content Intelligence Trends with SIIA's Patrick Angell

Patrick Angell is Executive Director of the Information Industry Network (the European Division of the SIIA).

What is the Information Industry Network?

The Information Industry Network (IIN) was launch by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) in 2013 to support B2B information, media and publishing organisations in Europe as they navigate the changing market landscape which is becoming more and more digital. IIN’s mission is to help its members to a) learn (through the provision of conferences and seminars), b) share (through awards, roundtables and informal sessions) and connect (through facilitating communications amongst members across Europe and the US).

SIIA is the leading trade body for technology, digital content, media and software. Headquartered in Washington D.C., its members are global in outlook and include the likes of Pearson, Thomson Reuters, Reed Elsevier, McGraw-Hill and EditorEye.

Background to Patrick’s career

Patrick has been in B2B information & publishing for over 2 decades. He started at Wolters Kluwer, managing the transitions from print to floppy disks to CD-ROMs to online, then to EMAP where he marketed and headed up data intelligence brands such as Glenigan (construction), Brad Insight (media and marketing) and political monitoring outfit DeHavilland.

Throughout his journey, the constant theme was digital innovation, transformation and growth. More recently, he spearheaded the entry of NLA media access into magazine licensing and opened up the opportunity for digital licensing for trade publishers.

We were lucky to have had a sit-down with him to share his view of the current trends in the content landscape:

Patrick, how has the content landscape evolved in the past few years?

There has been a proliferation of platforms available to enable content to be consumed anytime, anywhere – from smartphones, tablets, e-readers to web, etc. This has been a great benefit to the content consumer, but has increased the challenge for the content producer to meet the demand for volume, up-datedness, quality and relevance.

So what's the most significant trend you see this year for your member companies?

I wouldn’t claim there is only one single trend, but the headline clearly seems to be ‘how do we get more from less’, i.e. being more effective and efficient with less resources. Some of the current trends have seen the use of marketing automation tools increasing; experimentation with different content platforms on the rise; increasing (and smarter) use of social media; development of content marketing platforms; the drive for effective engagement with customers and prospects; and the desire to develop more digital products.

Why do you think the focus on big data and identifying actionable intelligence suddenly become so important?

Quite simply, the revenue opportunities it provides, whether a) for internal intelligence - to understand trends in customer patterns, buying behaviour, who should be targeted which is what EditorEye provides to major corporates and/or b) to develop new services - so for example, it was encouraging to hear, at our Business Media Insights conference last October, how EMAP were able to develop a brand new digital HSJ service for suppliers to the Health Service, using an aggregation of 80 data-sets, which will help provide business development intelligence.

Big data on its own is useless unless it is structured and organised to provide insight and intelligence. To do this, involves engaging with the right technologies and techniques. The developments is one such fascinating area, where context, meaning, and understanding is applied to data and content.

How effectively are sales teams, strategy execs and marketing teams taking up new intelligence tools to help their day-to-day roles?

The use of CRM tools (e.g. Salesforce) has grown in use amongst sales and marketing teams, but other sophisticated tools lead management, lead scoring and marketing automation tools have grown in uptake from vendors such as Eloqua (now part of Oracle), Marketo, and Hubspot. Even, what was deemed simple email marketing systems have increased their intelligence capabilities. One of our members, Adestra, provide a highly sophisticated service, containing a wealth of customer-driven marketing tools to track campaign activity, drive engagement and most importantly sales.

Any differences between industries and their content consumption habits?

The overriding content consumption within industries is often for business decision-making and commercial reasons – i.e. whether for business development opportunities, market tracking, competitor tracking, report preparation, compliance, etc. Industrial, or business content consumption differs from consumer content consumption, which is often an emotional activity based on taste, fashion, and fad.

Price point also differs – purchase price of consumer content is invariably much lower than that of business content, which also affects the decision whether to purchase. Consumer purchase is likely to be a quick decision, whereas business content purchase may be more considered…and sometimes with an ROI attached (e.g. what value will we get from this).

What do you see as the biggest development trend in content intelligence over the next, say 5 years?

Three areas worth watching:

  1. Convergence of data and journalism – visualising information for quicker assimilation of insight & consumption of information

  2. Improvements in predictive analysis & modelling for forecasting, predictions & business decision-making

  3. Increase in brands communicating directly with their customers and markets based on knowledge gathered on them – hence more community development, engagement and 2-way dialogue.

One more question, do you feel as though companies have generally got the grip in calculating ROI from content marketing?

No, I think organisations are still dabbling in this. Most really could do with expert help in not only developing content marketing strategies, but more importantly, understanding what their objectives are for content marketing, and then what the measures are for tracking. It’s not good enough to just stick an article on LinkedIn Pulse and think ‘job done’. Interestingly, Shannon Doubleday, who leads content marketing strategy at Euromoney doesn’t just look at ROI, but focuses on ‘return on objectives’ e.g. longer term measurement of content marketing and social media activities.

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