How Edify Digital Media uses Publish Interactive’s analytics to refine its offering and drive sales leads

theSauerReport is the world’s leading authority on hides and skin prices. Since 1985 it has provided daily raw material prices to its customers alongside market trends and information on the leather industry.

On acquiring it, publisher Edify Digital Media knew it had a great product but how would it properly equip the report for the digital age?

The report ran on a basic website with an outdated design. A daily update was emailed to subscribers, but it wasn’t protected by a login. Premium information was easily forwarded to non-subscribers. Equally, there was no incentive to visit the website and no way to measure user stats.

Edify Digital Media needed to ensure customers could access the information in the simplest way possible and enable a business model based on the provision of smart digital access to its highly valuable content.

Partnering with Publish Interactive enabled Edify Digital Media to make use of its smart content management and publishing system to power the new website it would create for theSauerReport.

‘Commercially, analytics is the most useful feature…’

Edify Digital Media’s update of its online portal ensured subscribers would benefit from useful new features and functions, while also enabling it to attract new customers and, for the first time, understand how its content is used.

“On the commercial side, analytics is the most useful feature,” says Maria Wallace, co-founder of Edify Digital Media. “I particularly like the email alerts that come directly through to me to say someone has looked at a certain report marketing page which can then be passed to the sales team to follow up”.

“As publishers, user analytics is valuable as it provides us with information relating to what content is of most interest (so we can produce more) and with warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities.”

“Through the site,” she adds. “we’re able to monitor the number of overall reports accessed – as well as analytics on specific reports – helping us to remain focused on the content of most interest to our subscribers.”

Enhancing the customer experience

In addition to helping Edify Digital Media understand more about its customers and their use of content, the move onto the Publish Interactive platform enabled Edify Digital Media to broaden the range of content it offers to subscribers. It has added a Knowledge Centre and a section for in-depth reports.

“Besides being quicker and easier to use, the new system offers subscribers a number of useful features such as the download and custom report feature, advanced search functionality and, through Dataviewer, the ability to interact with data sets,” adds Maria.

“Content is created directly within the platform, which saves us time and is convenient,” Maria adds.

“Only those with a login can access content, which helps protect our subscription business model. We can also license individual reports or report groups, which provides greater flexibility when it comes to selling.”

In addition, Maria says, Edify Digital Media can publish content in ‘private mode’, enabling it to offer a consultancy service for individual customers alongside the tiered subscription model it uses to manage access to its principal content.

Evolving the business model

Edify Digital Media now has around 800 stored reports and creates around 265 new pieces of content each year. Easy access to this content and its suite of user-friendly workflow tools help keep renewal rates high and subscribers happy with the service.

A recent customer survey found that 80% of subscribers make use of the quick search feature to access content they need from across theSauerReport in the shortest possible time.

As the business grows, adds Maria, as do the commercial opportunities within the platform. Rather than simply offering theSauerReport, the opportunity exists to evolve into a ‘report store’ where users can search and access reports by different industry sectors.

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  • Analytics
  • Sales
  • Subscribers

Q&A: How Publish Interactive is ‘mission critical’ to 451 Research’s development

Publish Interactive recently announced a partnership with 451 Research to provide the IT research firm its industry-leading content management and research publishing platform.

Brett Azuma, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer, and Kiran Shah, Chief Information Officer and Global Head of Professional Services at 451 Research, explain how Publish Interactive will enable their business to play a more integral role in the working lives of their customers.

What’s the biggest challenge for research businesses right now?

Brett Azuma: The ongoing challenge is to become increasingly valuable to clients and deliver that value in a tangible way. My boss always says: clients need to see the value and feel the value.

Kiran Shah: The biggest challenge is to stay relevant as well as visible to clients and potential clients – to stay top of mind. Ten years ago, there was far less information, from fewer sources. Today’s challenge for research firms is to connect users with the right data, with interpretation from the right experts who can provide real insight.

How critical is the role Publish Interactive will play in the evolution of your business?

BA: It’s mission-critical to the development of the business. The platform is now the primary way our clients interact with the research we create. Publish Interactive is aligned with what we need now, and it will enable us to adapt to serve our clients as technology evolves. The platform also enables us to move to market more quickly and reduces the execution risk in getting there.

KS: The key benefit is customers’ ability to find relevant content. With more than 100 analysts, we publish a lot of insights and data, so the feature we’re most excited about is search. For the first time, we’ll have deep indexing of all of our content across every media type. This will provide greater relevancy and rich search results. The second benefit comes from the capability of the publishing platform itself, which can deliver rich media with interactive data embedded in the content. We’ve only just begun to unlock the potential of that capability.

How will this new platform help you to provide value to your customers?

BA: It will allow us to play a more integral role in how our clients work. One of our strategic goals is to become more embedded in their workflows. The platform brings us closer to our clients on a day-to-day basis. It will be easier for them to find what they’re looking for and extract this into whatever documents or spreadsheets they need. The phrase we use now is discover, extract, embed.

KS: Time is money. Reducing the time our customers spend finding relevant content provides huge value, and if we can also expand the breadth of insight available to customers to help them deal with the problems at hand, that value increases exponentially.

Why did you choose Publish Interactive over another solution or an in-house build?

BA: The decision not to build our own system was based on time to market and execution risk. We have great developers, but there’s always some risk. Publish Interactive had already built what we needed. We aligned strategically with Publish Interactive because many of the tools and features in the platform are things we wanted. Also, the platform was specifically designed for the research business. It’s not a generalist content system that had a bit of what we needed; it’s built specifically for businesses like ours.

KS: Publish Interactive was built by people who come from the research world. We’re migrating from a homegrown platform that served us well for nearly two decades. We looked at so many different systems over the years, and really none of them addressed the needs of the research industry as comprehensively as this platform does. Publish Interactive fundamentally knows our world, and all that knowledge is built into the platform’s capabilities.

Do you think this technology will change how you do business? What will it enable?

BA: Working with Publish Interactive is about how clients see us. The platform provides us a key point of differentiation in the market. It helps us externally, and it will also help internally as we restructure our workflows. We have plans to create content in a more modular fashion, and Publish Interactive will help us do that much more easily than other systems could.

KS: The platform gives us the ability to publish content in a more granular way and sell research in different configurations. In the past, we were limited to selling our research in topic- and product-oriented configurations. With Publish Interactive we can substantially expand the types of subscription models to more closely match the needs of our customers. But the bigger change we expect is improved customer engagement, which will undoubtedly lead to growth.

These two uses perfectly show how Artificial Intelligence can shake up research

The focus and determination to make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is red hot across all industries. While some race ahead, others like the research sector are watching these early adopters and learning valuable lessons that could help inform their own implementation plans.

Technology and, particularly, the retail sector have been quick to make use of benefits offered by different forms of AI.

Apple’s Siri is a ubiquitous form of natural language processing (NLP) that interprets voice commands and responds accordingly, while online retail often involves automated chatbots supplying customer support.

New business

study from Boston Consulting Group examined the appetite for AI across businesses. It found that 75% of executives believe AI will enable their companies to move into new businesses.

The research also suggested that almost 85% believe AI will allow them to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage, while more than 60% said a strategy for AI is urgent for their organizations.

Desire is high, but the gap between appetite and execution remains significant. The Boston Consulting study found that just one in five companies has incorporated AI into some offering or process, while just one in twenty has extensively incorporated AI.

AI in research

Within the research community, the need to incorporate AI is understood but use or experimentation are not yet widespread.

A lack of widespread experimentation, however, doesn’t mean there’s no experimentation. In fact, there was a conference last year on this very subject (recordings of the sessions can be found here) and there are several organisations making waves in research with AI and a string of other interesting applications.

One application highlighted in a research paper by InSites Consulting looks at the use of predictive analytics to ensure that market research communities and consulting boards are not disproportionality influenced by strong characters who might skew research outcomes.

Looking further afield, Prague-based response:now is an organisation doing impressive things. It supplies automated market research that creates reports based on machine learning. It already works with Google, Mastercard, and McCann.

Fred Barber, Managing Director of response:now in North America, explained his business’s proposition to Martech Today – 75-80% of the current effort in market research, he said, is in writing the reports.

“It [writing] is costly and time-consuming,” he said. In comparison to traditional research, response:now can deliver in “five days, not five weeks and for 2K instead of 20 (on average).”

So, that’s a heavily increased speed at a much-reduced cost. In those terms, market research can become much more every day. It is something actionable and relied upon by managers and workers, rather than accessed mainly by executives who may or may not build it into strategy.

Next moves

Even in the two simple examples we’ve highlighted, it’s possible to see how AI can be a disruptive force in the research industry.

Our examples show how research production could be altered, but what we haven’t really touched on (and it’s a subject to which we’ll return to) is the effect AI is likely to have on the way research businesses interact with customers.

Before signing off, we just want to highlight a key finding from a recent 451 Research Study on Current and Future State of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It says machine learning is set to be the most transformative technology existing over the next decade. It also says that we are approaching an inflection point at which companies that have not integrated machine learning into their offerings will fall behind those that have.

To remain competitive in the research sector, it looks like executives might have to get to grips with a lot of new ways of interacting with the customer.

6 critical wins that come from tracking research content use

Creating high-quality Market Intelligence is an expensive business, so it’s important you extract the maximum value possible from your research and analysis – that means direct financial return through sales, but equally important is gathering data about use of that content.

If you’re creating research, but have no tracking capability, you’re throwing away vital information. Without knowing your target audience, how do you operate? In this post, we’ll look at what’s to gain from understanding how content is used. There are scores of great wins, but here are the six we think are most critical:

  1. Understand how often content is viewed

Knowing how often content is viewed is as important as knowing who views. It might just be a select few, but if they’re going back frequently, the value to them is likely to be high. What else can you offer them? Something of value they might not have previously come across?

  1. Find out how your content is used

Do customers just read research or put it to use? If you can establish when content is exported into Excel or PPT, you’ll know when the customer is using it to make a critical point or decision. That’s valuable information that could give you a sign of where markets are going.

  1. Understand what’s popular

There’s no point spending 90% of your time creating content read by 5% of your audience. Knowing what’s popular can help you set priorities. Equally, knowing which sections of a report are viewed or used can help you know what parts of a topic the customer is most interested in. Understanding this helps determine where your resources should be focused.

  1. Create future research that’s increasingly relevant

Instead of just looking at an individual’s use of content, what about looking at customer usage trends across your whole portfolio? Gain both the micro and macro view to determine which are the hot topics and to help identify future research targets.

  1. Renegotiate/renew from a position of power

When the time comes to renew a subscription or renegotiate access rights, not only will usage information help you supply the right mix of content to your customer, it’s a vital piece of information for you to prove your value to them. Often, the person that pays the bills is not the person who uses the service, and you might have to convince them of your worth.

  1. Make sales of additional content easier

If you understand how customers use content, that’s critical for your cross/up-sell. What about offering a deal to broaden their licenced content with related material or offering a bolt-on of content in a related topic or category?

Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis provider

Understand how niche research firms can use technology to successfully shift from a transactional model to recurring revenues

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