5 practical ways B2B research publishers can increase subscriber personalisation

Consumers are increasingly expecting personalised digital experiences – but how can B2B publishers embrace this new trend?

A study by Accenture found that a massive 91% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from brands (whether that is a new pair of shoes, a luxury holiday abroad, or even an annual B2B subscription package) that provide personalised digital experiences.1

Digital giants, such as Spotify and Amazon (think of all those personalised mixes and wishlists) have been the personalisation trailblazers, but other digital providers are catching up as demand grows and the digital landscape becomes increasingly saturated.

In the B2B publishing world, understanding subscriber usage, tracking content preferences and buying history, as well as on-site behaviour are vital metrics for the creation of unique, personalised digital experiences.

Although technical challenges are a common issue associated with personalisation, they can be overcome.

But this begs the question: which features and technologies can publishers practically implement on their digital platforms to make users feel like a unique individual rather than one part of a homogenous mass of subscribers?

1. Reading Lists

Just as Spotify attempts to condense your eclectic music taste into one easily digestible ‘Daily Mix’, publishers can similarly curate personalised reading lists for their subscribers.

Lists are collated based on the information provided when subscribers sign-up, including:

• Job title – a reading list could be titled ‘other CTOs are reading…’ for example.

• Company industry

• Geographical location

• Subjects of particular interest

The same Accenture study, Making it Personal, referenced above found that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalised experience, so do not be afraid to ask subscribers for information to enhance the personalisation experience.

Information gathering does not stop here, however. As new subscribers browse and consume content, their usage data and behaviour can be tracked and collated to compile a personalised list, displaying the licensed products of most relevance to them. Consider the similarities with Amazon and many other online shops which use customer buying and search history for on-site marketing ammunition.

If, for example, the user is accessing content continuously updated to reflect live market developments, similar reactive content not yet read could be suggested or added to their in-platform reading list.

2. Upsell & Cross-sell

This usage data can equally be leveraged for unlicensed content to create further personalisation points. Examples of in-platform behavioural usage data leveraged for cross-selling purposes include:

• Recently viewed products (both licensed and unlicensed)

• Most favoured content formats

• Behaviour of similar user personas

• Buying habits – does the user tend to buy products as part of a subscription or one-off purchases?

• Device data (more on this later)

Equipped with this data, marketing sites or content delivery systems can push similar products available to buy outside of existing subscriptions, often in the form of widgets on the site’s homepage or alongside licensed reports.

Example cross-sell widgets

Recent advances in machine learning and analytics technology have expanded the breadth of trackable data metrics and improved the interpretation of this data. This allows site administrators to automate the recommendation process, improve its accuracy, and reduce the cost of these ‘similar products’ recommendation systems.

Ultimately, if subscribers can see the extent of relevant content outside their subscription package, the publisher’s value is enforced, and further purchases will be encouraged.

3. Flexible Licensing

Underpinning this promotion of both unlicensed and licensed content is flexible licensing technology – a crucial asset publishers must utilise as part of the personalisation process.

Licensing facilitates the creation of trials to entice new users to sign-up, time-limited access to unlicensed content for existing customers, and the formation of user-specific content packages based on subscribers’ exact requirements. The flexibility now afforded by licensing technology is allowing publishers to create truly unique content packages.

Licensing enables the greatest degree and flexibility for personalisation – we covered this topic in detail in a recent article of ours:

Underpinning this promotion of both unlicensed and licensed content is flexible licensing technology – a crucial asset publishers must utilise as part of the personalisation process.

4. Device Optimisation

Moving beyond licensing’s role in the personalisation process, the device that end-users access content on reveals much about their behaviour and requirements.

Mobile access might, for example, tell you the user is regularly on the move rather than chained to their desk, so will need bitesize, concise content rather than dense, text-heavy market reports. Short-form content or regularly updated news content can then be pushed to these users rather than those who predominantly access via a desktop.

Equally, desktop users may value visually engaging content that can be displayed at its full potential on a large screen – PowerPoint-authored content could for instance be recommended to these users.

Optimising your mobile offering with either a dedicated application or a mobile version of your website with the same functionality as its browser-based counterpart is also key. Omnichannel consistency will strengthen your appeal amongst all user groups and again increase personalisation levels.

5. CTA’s and Landing Pages

User-specific landing pages are labour-intensive and require cross-departmental collaboration, but can increase conversion rates by up to 10%, according to research by the BCG.2

Creating unique pages for specific user groups with relevant calls to action, such as special offers, free trials or early access to a newly published report are powerful personalisation strategies. Using the data collated during the subscriber sign-up process and on-site behaviour, unique digital experiences can be created for segments of your subscriber base.

Looking Forward…

B2B publishers must embrace the personalisation revolution. Strengthened customer relationships, increased revenues, and improved renewal rates all await those B2B publishers willing to invest time and money into creating unique user experiences. With growing expectations amongst all consumer groups for personalised experiences, this is an exciting time for those B2B publishers able to embrace the personal rather than the general.

How publishers can create personalised user journeys using flexible licensing technology

Flexible licensing technology is now crucial for publishers looking to create highly targeted, tailored user journeys.

Managing customer access rights to high-value content used to be inflexible, insecure, and impersonal.

Broad ‘all or nothing’ packages were the sole purchasing option for prospective customers and publishers relied on the trustworthiness of their subscribers to abide by licence terms. However, technology now enables B2B publishers to offer secure, highly flexible licenses to help convert trialists to subscribers, drive upsell opportunities and create dynamic, tailored content bundles.

Fuelling this shift is the adoption of content delivery platforms and specialised licensing technology capable of delivering highly flexible, adaptable systems of access management. Advanced content licensing systems create seamless user journeys for customers – both prospective and existing – with clear upgrade paths to expanding the breadth of their licenses and subscriptions if implemented correctly.

Licenses can now be granted for content as granular as a single report section, function on a time-sensitive basis or control access to certain content formats, such as the often-sensitive underlying data behind charts and graphs.

The specificity available is transforming how publishers sell their content, revolutionising the way subscribers interact with market analysis and facilitating an automated, personalised user journey.

Trial access

The first stage of the user journey is invariably the trial stage – a stage often possible, but with fewer options available, on outdated content delivery methods but now commonplace and highly adaptable to individual user requirements.

Time-limited trials can be created for new prospects visiting and browsing a publisher’s website for the first time or for existing customers looking to expand their current content packages. Consequently, publishers deploy trials as a form of lead gen for new prospects and as one facet of the customer success process.

Granting existing subscribers free access to content outside of their subscriptions is a powerful way of strengthening client relationships and demonstrates the value of a publisher’s content as the breadth of relevant analysis available to users is displayed. Aside from benefits related to customer success, there are also clear commercial benefits. Encouraging fee increases as subscribers become dependent on temporary trial-access content naturally leads to additional subscription module purchases.

Track & trace

Considering the new user journey again, it is important to note how trial accounts can be marketed to as they navigate through the platform.

Once new users have created an account and log in as part of their trial, they will browse through a publisher’s digital content offering, discover content from across their portfolio and have access restricted to any reports or datasets outside of their limited trial license . As this restriction of access occurs, user behaviour is tracked to create personalised marketing and unique special offers for these trial accounts, encouraging a full subscription purchase.

The dual forces of licensing and analytics, working together to manage accessible content, track user behaviour, and feed this behavioural data into marketing, is a powerful strategy for progressing triallists to paying subscribers.

 

How licensing and analytics work together to support trial progression

User-specific content packages

Once the trial is over, the triallist has a decision to make: to purchase a subscription or to look elsewhere for business-critical analysis.

If the decision is to purchase, this is where advanced licensing technology really comes to the fore.

Content delivery platforms and specialist licensing systems can now segment content and create highly tailored subscription packages based on the new subscriber’s exact requirements.

With the ability to grant access to individual chapters in reports or whole libraries of content and manage the length of time users have access to products, the possibilities for both publishers and subscribers to create customised content programmes are endless.

Futuresource Consulting, a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting firm, faced the challenge of working with a ten-year-old system, which made it ‘difficult to change licenses’. However, after adopting Publish Interactive with its advanced access management features, this changed. James Edwards, Marketing Executive at Futuresource, summarised the improvements to their access management capabilities by explaining, ‘the flexibility it offers, in terms of the ability to create different unique access rights, is game-changing’.

Following the integration of CRM or eCommerce software, licenses can be granted without any salesperson or account manager involvement.  The journey from an initial website visit with limited access to freemium content to a fully-fledged subscriber can therefore be entirely automated if integrations are implemented correctly.

“The flexibility Publish Interactive offers, in terms of the ability to create different unique access rights, is game-changing”

James Edwards

Marketing Executive at Futuresource Consulting

Closing the deal: The life science market analysis firm harnessing Publish Interactive to grow sales

ScienceandMedicine

Science and Medicine Group’s sales team rely on Publish Interactive’s customer intelligence features to understand subscriber behaviour and content engagement

SMG

Science and Medicine Group, Inc. is a leading research and advisory firm serving the life science and diagnostic industries. It owns a proprietary, international community of more than 55,000 scientists and biomedical researchers to provide insights that grow businesses and move markets.

Revenue-generating insight

Science and Medicine Group uses the Publish Interactive platform to publish and deliver between 50 and 100 market reports a year which account for around 30% of the firm’s revenue. The market analysis firm benefits from a software system that not only enables it to attract new customers but also for the commercial team to have solid insight into customers and their use of high-value content.

Devin Holland, Science and Medicine Group’s Director of Business Development, finds that the Publish Interactive system successfully helps drive customer growth and create cross-selling opportunities. The platform enables the sales team to glean invaluable client insight through user analytics, allowing them to quickly transform their customer engagements into further revenue. “The strong usage reporting abilities of Publish Interactive are probably one of the most useful elements harnessed by the sales team to both cross and up-sell customers to additional products in our research portfolio,” he said. “The site enables us to monitor and identify the number of overall reports accessed, to see which content areas are of most interest and who is requesting access to them. The more insight we have, the easier the conversation is with our client,” added Devin.

“Understanding customer research trends using Publish Interactive’s enhanced analytics capabilities means we can continually fine tune our offering to build trust and reliability, to further reinforce our position as one of the leading research resources in the life science industry.”

Simon Hodson
Devin Holland
Director of Business Development
Science and Medicine Group, Inc.

High returns & reaping value

The usage stats reporting is also something the sales team leans on heavily for leveraging the value a customer has gained from using the platform. This is particularly effective when approaching clients regarding subscription upgrades or renewals. Even during the 2020 pandemic, Science and Medicine Group had over a 90% subscriber retention rate.

Devin explains: “Having the usage stats to show clients the value they receive from Science and Medicine Group’s content – which is usually between four and five-fold their spend – as a resource for their work is incredibly valuable and often makes a potentially tricky sales conversation pretty easy. We are able to make data-driven arguments that buying our content is a necessary part of our clients’ (now more limited) budgets and means that, if required, we can use this data to justify the price they pay for access. For example, we are seeing the same scenario across many clients where a department has purchased Science and Medicine Group’s content but it is actually being used by their whole organisation. Usage data is vital in justifying an acceptable fee increase for company-wide licenses.”

Devin added: “We find that using the platform for our own internal use not only generates revenue but also gives us a significant competitor advantage. Customer intelligence really is pivotal for the purpose of driving our future growth. Understanding customer research trends using Publish Interactive’s enhanced analytics capabilities means we can continually fine-tune our offering to build trust and reliability, to further reinforce our position as one of the leading research resources in the industries we serve”.

Success benefits

  1. Successfully help drive customer growth and create cross-selling opportunities
  2. Enable the sales team to glean invaluable client insight through user analytics
  3. Quickly transform customer engagements into further revenue
  4. Use analytics data to justify the price paid for access
  5. Using the platform for internal benefits also gives a significant competitor advantage

Tags

  • Content Licensing
  • Sales
  • Upsell

How Futuresource Consulting offers content licences tailored to a client’s specific needs

After using an adapted off-the-shelf content platform for almost a decade, Futuresource’s requirements had outgrown its capability and the technology was no longer fit for purpose.

Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and consulting firm serving the consumer and business technology industries. It provides research, industry tracking and benchmarking through quarterly, bi-yearly and annual reports.

Content packages

With its existing system, Futuresource Consulting was unable to offer licenses tailored to client’s specific requirements. It lacked the ability to control access in the way it needed and it was only able to provide broad licenses to large swathes of its portfolio.

Futuresource Consulting wanted to create unique content packages that more accurately matched the individual requirements of its customers. It needed a new content system to enhance the flexibility of its operations. It also needed to enhance access to the 900 reports in its back catalogue and as many as 400 reports it publishes each year for its 3,500 users.

“Our system was nearly ten years old. The look and feel wasn’t great, there was no visibility over content and user management and, critically, it was difficult to change licenses,” said James Edwards, Marketing Executive with Futuresource Consulting.

Smarter licensing

With Publish Interactive now powering its new content management and delivery platform, Futuresource Consulting is able to create tailored licensing agreements. It’s also able to enhance its user experience with Publish Interactive’s advanced search options enabling users to find information from their licensed content more quickly and easily.

“We’re unique in the way we deliver products. We don’t sell the same package twice, so the fit with Publish Interactive was perfect,” added James.

“It’s a huge benefit now that users can search easily for content based on title and keywords, and the flexible its offers, in terms of providing the ability to create different unique access rights, is game-changing.”

Now, instead of providing access to too much content in each subscription, Futuresource Consulting is able to offer clients specific licenses. This flexibility means Futuresource Consulting can offer everything from just a single report chapter all the way up to a whole year’s worth of its content.

Extra gains

By making use of Publish Interactive’s cutting-edge content management and publication system, Futuresource Consulting has also been able to establish much-needed productivity gains.

Not only does visibility over user behaviour now enhance feedback on potential sales leads, the company also benefits from much quicker content uploads and speedier licencing and account testing for new users.

Future functionality

“In the near future, we’re looking at using marketing functionality to help us promote reports more creatively, we’ll also look at implementing interactive reports and the data downloads functions within the platform,” added James.

With up to 40% of its business coming from firms based in Asia, Futuresource Consulting also sees the Publish Interactive’s translation function as a key future selling point.

“Translation will be important to us and we hope to look at adding that in the next 12 months,” James added.

Tags

  • Content Licensing
  • Personalisation
  • User Journey

7 huge losses if you fail to track how your research content is used

If you are providing high-value research, you need know how your customer is using this to ensure you don’t leave money on the table.

If you’re creating expensive research then only making it available to customers via an emailed or downloadable document, there’s no real way to accurately know what happens next – in today’s customer-centric economy, this isn’t good.

Equally, if you provide a subscription that allows a customer access to your portfolio without you trying to understand how and why they use your content, you’re practically throwing away valuable information that could be critical to the future direction of your organisation.

So, what information could you be missing out on and why is that bad for business?

1. Who is viewing the content?

If an admin assistant bought a report then immediately passed it to the Insights Director, do you really want to try and engage the assistant in future? How do you think they’ll respond to marketing and sales? Perhaps not as well as the person who’s consuming your report. But how would you know that?

2. How many people view it?

Is it just the individual who bought it, their whole team, or also people working in another business? If you don’t know, then you have no idea about your potential market. How many separate accounts, license holders, or one-off purchases are you missing out on?

3. How many times is it viewed?

Imagine you sell the same person two pieces of content, but you don’t know that they looked at one piece just once and the other more than 100 times. Without this information, you’d assume they’re equally interested in both subjects. Think how different your sales and marketing approach could be if you knew, in detail, how many people looked at which report?

4. Which sections are interesting, which aren’t?

If you sell someone a report about meat sales and they only read sections related to pork products, how would you know they have no interest in beef, chicken, or lamb? You wouldn’t. As a result, your sale of future content to them will be less precise.

5. How do you make your content relevant?

Without usage data, it will be difficult to create personalised content bundles for customers as you won’t know what they’re interested in. Also, if you can’t gather usage data to find out how content is used by the entire userbase, it will be difficult to know what subjects the audience is interested in and then set an appropriate strategy for future research production.

6. How do you renew subscriptions?

Let’s see: you have no real information on how often your content was used, nor by how many people, and you don’t have figures for all the people in a single organisation that read your expensively-produced research – nor the breadth of topics these people were reading. Can you still make a convincing case for maintaining the same fees? Can you justify a suggestion to expand the account license to include new content, new topics, and new categories that might be of interest?

7. How do you sell additional content?

The answer is: you can still sell it, but you won’t have any information to back up your claims or to ensure it’s relevant to the person you’re selling it to. Now, just imagine approaching the same call knowing their three major topic interests, and armed with an offer for additional content in this area at a cutdown price. Those are two very different scenarios.

Tags

  • Analytics
  • Business
  • Content Licensing

How flexible licencing helps research firms evolve their commercial models

For many established research businesses success came through selling reports one copy at a time – but for these business to succeed in the digital age this traditional relationship with the customer needs to change.

Developments in digital technology have had two fundamental effects on the research business: they have altered the way information can be delivered and, perhaps more importantly, they have shifted way the customer wants to engage with that information.

Those two changes are significant. Research firms of today, who want to be leaders tomorrow, are adapting the way they do business to suit the new situation.

How are they changing?

The leading research firms of the future will be those that adopt a business model that focuses on delivery and meeting the changing expectations of the customer. This means adopting a flexible sales model based around a single piece of publishing software that helps fulfil both.

Developing account journeys

What various customer groups want is flexibility, but what the publisher wants is certainty. These two aren’t mutually exclusive – and good publishing technology should offer new and potential customers several routes into the business.

Alongside a host of other functionality, this technology should help all those different customers start their engagement with a publisher’s content in a way that suits them best. So, it should manage subscriptions, but it should also allow publishers to give content away for free, perhaps on a trial basis, and also allow transactional sales too.

It might be best to think of these different ways of putting people in touch with content as a range of starting points that all lead to the same sales journey. They are simply different ways for the publisher to gather some customer information and to begin growing the relationship.

For these multiple entry points into business to work, a publisher will need a flexible approach…

Targeted packages

Flexible licencing is the ability to tailor packages of content to suit different customer groups and manage the access rights around those packages – so, for example, how long is access available? Which people can view what content?

As all customers are different and flexibility means different things to different groups. It might be, for instance, that a free trial or single transactional sale might be the point at which a publisher starts a relationship that actions sales and marketing around a limited package of related content.

Once customers are into that ‘account journey’ process, publishers can then develop the relationship, build a unique offering for the customer, sell them further packages and access, and move them to the point where a full subscription is both necessary and vital.

Not just all you can eat

Smart subscription software should have the flexibility for the publisher to accurately tailor access to group level and even to the level of an individual user.

A smart content offering shouldn’t be a choice between simply blocking access entirely, or offering access to a whole portfolio, it should be a developing relationship where the volume and period over which content access is granted can be changed to suit the needs of the customer.

Upgrades and multiple users

Once a publisher has established a relationship with an individual it becomes easier to find out what else they, and their employer, may need in terms of information. The crucial thing is to establish the relationship in the first place, and then build in it.

Often, this individual will act as your advocate to help you win greater trust and increase the number of subscriptions coming from their organisation.

Once this kind of relationship has been established, this is when the quality of your subscription software can really start to make a difference and help develop a lasting partnership with this client business.

Good software should allow you to offer upgrades to related content categories, create targeted packages of content specifically to meet a certain budget, and to add and remove users at the touch of a button.

Those two changes are significant. Research firms of today, who want to be leaders tomorrow, are adapting the way they do business to suit the new situation.

Tags

  • Content Licensing
  • Subscribers
  • User Journey

Why an integration with Publish Interactive helps Everest Group manage access rights

Everest Group publishes more than 300 new pieces of content every year using Publish Interactive’s cloud-based content solution

Everest Group is a consulting and research firm that advises clients on global services. Its portfolio contains over 2,000 pieces of digital content.

With users numbering in the tens of thousands, managing access rights to such a large content set was complicated, particularly as Everest Group’s homegrown content management system had inherent complexities.

Market Research publishing platform

To support its growing membership base – and ensure they were always able to make use of the best available research technology – Everest Group forged a partnership to use Publish Interactive’s smart content management and publishing system.

Now, Everest Group publishes more than 300 new pieces of content every year via Publish Interactive’s cloud-based content solution. It also provides members with seamless access to its content library, where they can quickly and easily search, save, and share relevant content.

“Using Publish Interactive has significantly improved many of our processes,” says Patricia Blair of Everest Group. “We’re able to move faster, reports are easier to publish, content and memberships are easier to manage. It’s a great improvement on the system we used before.”

Integrating systems

For any publisher, it can be difficult to know how to use technology to seamlessly grant access to its users and account holders – and it’s just as tough to keep records of what individuals and organisations are entitled to access.

Everest Group uses Salesforce as its CRM platform, so it was critical that Salesforce integrated with Publish Interactive’s content management system.

When Everest Group started using Publish Interactive, it needed a way to ensure individual users were provided with relevant content access in an efficient manner. The answer lay in a technical integration between Everest Group’s Salesforce instance and Publish Interactive.

Establishing access rights

The seamless nature of this integration ensures that employees working for an Everest Group membership client can access all the content to which they’re entitled, without Everest Group having to conduct multiple manual processes.

As more content is added to a research offering, member accounts can immediately access the new information, gaining instant value from their membership.

The integration also helps differentiate the access rights granted to individuals with memberships, those who purchase individual reports online, and those who simply access complementary content.

In short, the integration makes everyone’s life just a little bit simpler…

Tags

  • Content Licensing
  • Integrations
  • Personalisation