The B2B publishing market is changing rapidly, driven by technology, competition and more expectations from clients. However, there is a current window opportunity for nimble B2B publishers to take advantage of the landscape trends and develop completely new digital revenue streams and pre-empt competitors and become more embedded with clients.
THE B2B PUBLISHING MARKET CHALLENGES
There are three trends now converging in the publishing space, led by cloud technology and APIs as well as underlying momentum from clients for centralization of information for their users:
Chart 1 Three Key Trends In Publishing
TREND 1: New Emerging Competition
In almost all verticals now we see more B2B publisher competitors emerging – often with advanced data or analysis and frequently leveraging new cloud technologies as a means of gathering intelligence on their sectors or integrating data from emerging APIs that allow them to create more “comprehensive” offerings.
While at the end of the day, deep analysis will always be a crucial decision factor, B2B publishers cannot now rely on that alone. Clients expect both analysis and data but also access to the best decision-making intelligence wherever it originates – plus great tools for distributing and collaborating around that intelligence.
TREND 2: The Need To Expand Client Offerings
B2B subscription publishing products are often bought for an entire team but the reality is that usually just 2 or 3 individuals are “power users” who get the most from all the functionality and breadth of research within a subscription portal. This frequently poses challenges for defending a high renewal. If one or two of the power users leave for any reason then at renewal time then the subscription salesman has to go through a big process of building a case for repeating the high subscription – particularly when coupled with nimble emerging competitors tapping on the client’s door with a seemingly slick new product.
By developing offerings which enables a deeper relationship with the client through tools for efficiently delivering knowledge from multiple sources into a far wider set of individuals than just the few power users, B2B publishers can defend existing subscription renewals, generate additional revenues and become embedded with a client.
This could be:
- Researchers curating tailored weekly newsletters from the publisher’s own content to hundreds of people
- Analyst setting up user groups with live alerts consolidating intelligence from the publisher and other sources
- Topic feeds from preferred sources into internal micro-sites or Intranets
- Easy delivery of relevant content, automatically or curated, into collaboration tools like Jive or Sharepoint
Ultimately, B2B publishers are focused on helping their clients achieve better business decision-making – whether this is via market forecasts, competitor analysis or identifying emerging trends. Offering new bundled tools to help make that decision-making goal even more efficient, whilst moving up the value-chain, is a close fit that publishers should take advantage of.
TREND 3: Centralization of Knowledge Management
There is a major trend in large organizations towards centralized content hubs for all intelligence they are paying for – we are seeing lots of RFPs emerging now in the financial services and corporate world. This is the whole nirvana for knowledge management teams of applying one single query for their users and it instantly retrieving the very best results, whether they are located in any of the following:
- Global News
- Premium Content (eg Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, FT etc)
- Premium Data (eg Bureau van Dijk etc)
- Internal Content (eg documents sitting on Sharepoint or similar)
Something like $750 billion is claimed to be spent each year on premium research and data globally – quite apart from the valuable internal documents generated across an organization. However, the availability of all these valuable content sources are often known to a few people in an organization and accessed from a bewildering array of interfaces each with different login requirements. The sheer time saving and efficiency benefit for all parties by having one single point to be pushed, or centrally search for, the best intelligence would be huge.
With availability of APIs and improved cloud processing speeds and costs this “single content hub” approach is now a reality with smart knowledge management platforms emerging to support this.
You can read more about this centralization of knowledge management here: “Uberisation of Knowledge Management for Banks” on Bobsguide.
THE SOLUTION FOR PUBLISHERS
So how do publishers practically think about all this?
Forward thinking B2B publishers are exploring solutions that allow them to offer knowledge management solutions themselves as an upsell into existing clients – and addressing the latter two trends directly and ahead of competitors.
Chart 2 Evolution of Publisher Offerings into Knowledge Management
The practical approach is to offer a cloud-hosted platform that allows for integration of a publisher’s content feed into a content hub plus the tools to allow client researchers or knowledge managers to control and distribute intelligence as they like across the organization.
Chart 3 White-label Knowledge Management platforms can be offered by B2B publishers
It’s all about leveraging existing relationships a publisher has with the research buyers and being the first publisher to offer what is effectively a hosted knowledge management solution. This starts with the publisher’s own valuable content as a feed but essentially embedding a “content hub” within the client organization that could then also integrate other content in the future.
Cloud-based content hubs (like our own EditorEye) can be fully white-labelled for publishers and allow the client to integrate other content providers like cartridges with relatively straightforward XML integration processes. Often the major content sources will be already technically connected into these hubs – and if the client is paying for a license already (eg to Acquire Media or FT) then they can ask that source for permission to just switch on and it’s instantly available in the hub.
The real advantage comes in the mid-term as more and more sources can be integrated into that same content hub. ie. smart B2B publishers can start to move up the value chain and become embedded infrastructure for clients – a kind of “Trojan Horse” ahead of their competitors – and indeed, potentially offering a hub that those very competitors have to connect into in the future.
SUMMARY: B2B PUBLISHERS SHOULD START LOOKING NOW
B2B publishers should start evaluating this opportunity as it starts to take off – and right now they have some real advantages if they to move quickly:
- Publishers have existing client research buyer relationships – so an immediate entry point
- Corporates are definitely moving towards this content hub model right now – RFPs are emerging all the time
- Knowledge management approach benefits both the client and their end-users – a win-win all round Entire new digital revenue stream opportunity
- Minimal cost – all white-labelled via cloud knowledge management partners so low technical requirement
- Embeds publishers within the client – publisher is more than a research provider and supports renewal rates
Nick Gregg is CEO of EditorEye, a cloud-based knowledge management platform, integrating premium content sources into one single content hub.
EditorEye delivers solutions for major corporate clients and under white-label for software and B2B publishers, such as Haymarket, Time Inc and Press Association
For more info visit www.editoreye.com or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org