How B2B publishers use software integrations to enhance customer experience

Integrations are essential for B2B publishers wanting to deliver information to their subscribers in a timely, coherent manner.

How do we define integration? Fundamentally, it is the process of bringing together two pieces of software into a single, holistic system to solve issues with siloed data and isolated platforms.

It is a process present in almost all digital platforms, websites, and applications – and the world of B2B publishing is, of course, no exception.

For publishers, the rewards associated with 3rd party (often SaaS) integrations include richer engagement and simpler interactions with subscribers, a seamless user journey between platforms and the streamlining of authoring, editorial and commercial processes. Essentially, it is a process designed to enhance the quality and usability of a publisher’s digital offering and make life easier for both the publisher and their subscribers.

But in practice, what integrations can B2B publishers implement and in what ways can these enrich the customer experience and meet business goals?

Phased approach

The simplest, quickest, and most cost-effective form of integration is the addition of a link or button that connects a publisher’s marketing website to their research library and gives customers access to the informative content, intuitive workflow tools and interactive features available in their portal.

The flexibility of integration affords the option of quickly launching a content portal with a simple integration. Later, connections with the marketing website can be deepened as business conditions permit.

These deeper connections include integrations with CRM systems, eCommerce plugins, analytics dashboards, and marketing automation software, which, if done right, will work together to create a frictionless, seamless reading experience for the end-user and an intuitive administrative process for the publisher.

Mark Chadwick, Product Manager at Publish Interactive elaborates, “Integrations help to remove time-consuming manual tasks that often cause a delay in users getting the information they need. For example, an integration that automatically applies a license to a report or subscription as the customer makes a purchase means the customer can access the data and insights straight away. Or, if usage data is integrated into a CRM account, managers can understand a customer’s engagement level, without having to look elsewhere”.

One customer that successfully integrated its CRM system with Publish Interactive is Everest Group. The IT and engineering services research firm seamlessly integrates with Salesforce to ensure individual users were provided with relevant content access in an efficient manner.

Open, easily navigable content

Implementing a cohesive suite of software integrations also provides a flexible content delivery framework for both the end-user and the publisher.

For example, deeper integration between the marketing and content delivery platforms enables users to search for content on either site. Depending on the publisher requirements, the search functionality can then either direct users to product landing pages on their content portal or to product pages on their website. Metadata for individual products can be stored on a secured content platform and extracted with an API to populate product pages on an SEO-optimised marketing website.

“Integrations help to remove time-consuming manual tasks that often cause a delay in users getting the information they need.”

Mark Chadwick

Product Owner at Publish Interactive

Publishers can also provide access to their research library without the need for registration. Gated, premium content can be created and uploaded within a framework for those without a subscription so prospective customers can understand the depth and complexity of the publisher’s offering. This open site model gives publishers two options: allow new users to search first then ask for registration once they have found relevant content available for purchase or take prospective customers to their registration page prior to enabling search.

If CRM or eCommerce systems are integrated into this process, the user journey from an initial website visit with limited access to ‘freemium’ content to a fully-fledged subscriber should be a seamless one without the need for either sales personnel or account managers to manually grant access to these new users.

This flexibility creates fluidity between these integrated platforms, allowing publishers to test different content delivery processes and decide on the most suitable one for their business needs.

SSO access

As users move between these two interconnected platforms, there must be an integrated, unified identification tool ensuring users are securely and seamlessly travelling between the two sites.

Single sign-on (SSO) is a user authentication service that enables customers to access related, yet still independent web applications using just one set of login credentials and allows for frictionless navigation across an organisation’s digital offering. If a publisher has more than one website, or already uses a CRM system as the single point of customer truth, then SSO is recommended.

Tom Gibbs, Director of Operations at Publish Interactive expands on this point: “SSO ensures ease of access, whilst Publish Interactive’s extensive suite of APIs allow publishers to create, manage, market and provision content through specialist CRMs, marketing automation platforms and CMS”.

The key benefits of integration:

  • Branding continuity across all online assets
  • Cross and upsell opportunities within the platform
  • A seamless user journey across websites
  • A platform for premium content
  • Quick and simple functionality for new content
  • Offers a phased development approach

Examples of Publish Interactive’s API integrations

INTEGRATION WITHOBJECTIVE
ILLUSTRATIVE BENEFITSEXAMPLE 3RD PARTY INTEGRATION
EDITORIAL & RESEARCH
Survey dataDisplay survey data & charts alongside textual analysis.Diversify content offeringMarketsight
Content Management SystemEasily manage, access, & publish web-based content.Streamline the authoring, production and editorial workflowKentico
MANAGEMENT/IT
Login systemsProvide a seamless user journey between different platforms.Enhance the user experienceOkta
Analytics DashboardsTrack content usage.Understand subscriber usage
Data-driven planning of future publications
Google Analytics
MARKETING & SALES
eCommerceAllow customers to make purchases of reports or datasets without having to contact a salesperson or account manager.Increase new business opportunitiesWordpress
CRM systemEnable sales & account management teams to manage customer access.Manage subscriber licensing
Work on upsell / cross sell opportunities
Hubspot
Salesforce
MarketingAutomate marketing operations & connect with existing marketing site.Promote published content
Drive new business opportunities
Marketo

Build or buy? Why in-house development of B2B publishing platforms rarely meets expectations

One of the key questions for B2B publishers is whether to build proprietary content platforms in-house or work with an experienced supplier. Edwin Bailey, Director of Marketing, assesses the risks associated of in-house development versus outsourcing.

In a competitive digital marketplace, efficiency is king. The right publishing solution is about timely access to authoritative research, data, and analysis to ensure that, as a research or an analysis firm, you’ve got the winning edge.

Add the invaluable ingredient of high-quality content as well as a suite of intuitive, user-friendly tools for simple and quick interactions, and that edge grows further still.

However, the critical question is, do you develop in-house or outsource? With so many variables to consider, we explore why building a proprietary system might not offer a feasible solution for anyone looking to gain competitive advantage.

The C Factor

Perhaps the biggest factor of all is cost. A publishing platform – in-house or otherwise – is in continual development, so surely removing the burden of developing a proprietary system while trying to constantly keep pace with the rapid progression of technology is a no-brainer?

Outsourcing not only removes initial capital expenditure and externalises the costs associated with development risks, updates, and over-runs but also ensures the availability of best quality technology at a fixed price. Outsourcing also paves the way for cost certainty, accurate budgeting, and the freeing-up of capital for use on other opportunities.

Streamline

In short: focus on what you’re good at. As a research or an analysis organisation, use your resources wisely and do not sway from your core competencies. Running a large internal development team solely for your publishing platform is, let’s face it, a costly distraction from your main business.

Outsourcing your publishing platform also offers you the flexibility and agility to respond to critical opportunities.

“It doesn’t matter how good your content is – if technology compromises its ease of access, both customer experience and competitive edge will dissipate.”

Time to market

Building a bespoke in-house system to match your business’ exact requirements and customers’ expectations is a bit like the holy grail. For one, your end-users may already be familiar with high-quality publishing platforms used by other providers and the high benchmark is therefore already set. In short, you are setting yourself up for a fall, perpetually stuck in development hell with technology that is fast becoming outdated.

‘Basic’ in-house amendments could routinely take four to six months and all those coding ‘tweaks’ will become increasingly difficult to manage, allowing your competitors to eclipse you. Any system that can’t rapidly implement new features made necessary by the wider technological ecosystem will quickly become obsolete.

This level of development and creativity demands big responsibility – as is managing the constant investment needed to fund the enterprise. Does your firm have the time and energy for this?

An outsourced solution will reduce implementation time and ensure industry-leading user and publisher experiences, as well as allowing research and analysis firms to publish reports quickly and easily.

And it doesn’t matter how good your content is – if technology compromises its ease of access, both customer experience and competitive edge will dissipate. A research or analysis firm’s platform should enhance content, as well as make it easy to find, understand and export in various user-friendly ways.

Sales impact

Creating a system that can actively help publishers improve sales can take years of development. Content Catalyst has been developing its content platform, Publish Interactive, for more than 12 years to the point where new partners can see tangible sales benefits within weeks. How long would that take if they were developing their own systems? The time frames are incomparable.

Furthermore, a publisher’s entire portfolio is also made instantly available, enabling researchers to find required information quickly and easily, leading to greater and prolonged use. Content analysis can help firms quickly identify popular content with great revenue potential, pinpoint any content gaps, and target content at specific users. Upselling and cross-selling opportunities are also enhanced, including the encouragement of ad-hoc buyers to become subscribers.

Freedom to thrive

Business information providers should ask themselves: do they want to invest time, money, energy, and focus equipping themselves with technology for tomorrow, or should they leave those tasks to the experts and concentrate on making their research the best it can be?

For further information, access our guide to choosing a publishing system:

Choosing the right research publishing software

Download

Tags

  • Digital Transformation
  • Management
  • Sales

Choosing the right research publishing platform: A practical guide to selecting the best content platform

A practical guide to selecting the best content platform

Introducing the FAVER methodology

Have you ever wondered how the most successful companies ensure they choose the right supplier for their business?

Email me the handbook

Choosing a new software provider is a challenge for any organisation. There are multiple considerations to make around business objectives, functionality, security and cost.

Picking the right solution for your company is a complex process and will involve much consideration and many team members. At Content Catalyst we have helped hundreds of publishing professionals solve this challenge. We have been supplying software to market analyst firms and research publishers for over 16 years. Without being too boastful – we like to think of ourselves as experts!

We have complied our knowledge and expertise in publishing systems (at last count we had over 100 years’ experience!) and put together an essential 22-page guide to help publishers make wise choices. We have even designed a lightweight methodology called FAVER to help you lay the groundwork needed to switch to a new software supplier.

The guide is packed with useful advice from those on the sharp end of system deployment. By downloading and reading this guide you will be able:

  • Better manage your supplier identification project,
  • Specify the business objectives driving new system adoption
  • Ensure you have considered how to manage your customers’ experience,
  • Understand the resource needed to transition to a new system; and,
  • Use our handy checklist to track progress of your decision-making process.

By reading the guide we guarantee you will be much better prepared to tackle the process of finding a supplier and will be able to confidently reach a purchasing decision.

Contents

Overview
Who this guide is for
How to use this guide

Stage I: Needs & Planning
Why switch?
Success expectations
Team and stakeholders
Your customers’ experience
Workflow practices
Stage I: Recap

Stage II: System Specifications
Essential functionality
Your content
Search
Branding and white labelling
Access to information
Analytics
Integrations and APIs
Technical and security requirements
Stage II: Recap

Stage III: Supplier Selection
Maximising a demonstration
Cultural fit & experience
Time and resource
Training
Price and ongoing costs
Negotiating the contract
Contract length
Cancellation
Payment terms
Contract terms
Launch plan Stage III: Recap

Checklist
FAVER methodology checklist

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How business information publishers should plan for business post-Coronavirus

We explore six areas that management should focus on to ensure continuity and growth during the Covid era

Government responses to the Coronavirus pandemic are having a terrible impact on economic activity. Fortunately, unlike travel or hospitality, the B2B publishing sector is not in the immediate front line of the fallouts from government lockdowns. That said, as the economy rapidly weakens and confidence falls, there will be a longer-term impact on the sector and revenues will be bitten into.

Apart from live events, which are currently either cancelled or postponed to a future ‘normal’, not all is doom and gloom for publishers of high-value B2B information and data products. Aggregated visitor data to our publisher customers content platforms is showing no significant change in numbers since the crisis began.  Perhaps we can conclude from this data that our publishers’ content and data (which covers many industries) is still valuable and needed by their corporate customers.

Further encouraging signals came from a recent survey by B2B media subscription consultancy Substribe, which indicated that over 80% of B2B publishers have seen an increase in customer engagement since mid-March. However, despite this robust percentage, only 40% are confident about growth from their subscriptions. Perhaps the survey question was incorrectly phrased – who apart from grocery stores and video conference tech providers are expecting growth?

So, what should B2B publishers and business information providers be doing to ensure they survive this economic crisis and come out the other side fitter and ready to take advantage of opportunities? I suggest six actions that all publishers should be considering right now.

1.  Intensify focus on retaining your customers.

The old adage for choosing property (and name of a popular English television house hunting programme), location, location, location could be matched in the publishing world by retention, retention, retention. The winners will be companies that retain their customers through this crisis.  Until now, churn is a way of life for subscription businesses. Acquiring new customers is going to be harder and unlikely to replace lost revenue. Think about it this way – zero churn is great for the bottom line because you are not having to replace lost revenue to stand still.

Holding onto a customer who is paying half of what they were pre-crisis is better than loosing them completely. So be nice, be smart and be proactive.

2.  Understand the value of your content

As a first-year marketing student will tell you, value is not the same as price. In the intangible world of content and data the value of product is often very much in the eye of the beholder. Your data might be robust and your analysts’ opinion well regarded but understanding why your customers buy your product and what tasks they use it for is not easy. Start off by asking straight up why your customer values the content. Additionally, use analytics to see which content is being used. Be careful with popular content versus valuable content. Some subjects are popular (like articles on Tesla’s Elon Musk’s latest indiscretions!) but not necessarily useful in your customers’ tasks. In this crisis companies are looking for support to help with forecasting, understanding how competitors are responding and looking for competitive advantage to survive. It is important to convey that you are the trusted guide through this crisis in your messaging.

The old adage for choosing property (and name of a popular English television house hunting programme), location, location, location could be matched in the publishing world by retention, retention, retention. The winners will be companies that retain their customers through this crisis.

3.  Invest in delivery platforms

The sudden move to homeworking has made access to paid content and data through the user’s browser an imperative. Companies still relying on terminals or IP-specific access will have to change. We live in an access-anywhere at anytime world and self-service content delivery platforms are a must.

In many cases your customers are performing tasks with your content and data. Will the “Zoom factor” change the way B2B information is packaged?  Ask how you can help with their tasks and workflow  and where they take place. This may open internal conversations about how the actual delivery of content could be improved.

4.   Diversify your portfolio

Although virtually no sector is going to be left unscathed by the economic fallout from Coronavirus containment measures, some sectors are more badly affected than others.  , while others such as transport or construction could suffer as companies in those sectors lose confidence and shed staff. Some information formats are suffering such as live events which are decimated, and advertising-driven publications are seeing sharp downturns. But, other forms such as news, market forecasts (however sketchy!) and peer advice are seeing upticks in engagement and readership.

This begs the following questions for a publishing company’s management. Should they:

  • Specialise heavily in one sector or publish across industry verticals?
  • Offer a range of formats with different type of revenue streams? and,
  • Look to repackage their content for a different audience?

However, whatever the sector or format, I believe the companies that will prosper are those that have a range of offers, solid subscription revenues and, above all, are trusted and valued by their customers.

5.  Accelerate product innovation

Anecdotally the crisis is accelerating the pace of innovation and change in companies. Decision making is quicker and projects that were scheduled to take months are now being completed in weeks. Whether this ‘war footing’ can continue indefinitely remains to be seen, but creativity will become increasingly essential in finding ways to adapt. Companies with high exposure in the live events sector or from advertising revenue will want to quickly rethink the future of their offer. Some ideas I have heard floated could include:

  • Develop a freemium-type model to drive readership in the hope that a profitable percentage can be converted into customers when the economy recovers. For example, a regular, (sector specific) update summarising Coronavirus related news
  • Repurpose old IP (after all its creation is a sunk cost) into a new product. This idea has relevance for conference companies who might have stacks of old presentations.
  • There is a real sense that people are ‘lonely’ in business and want to be connected to those having similar experiences. Can this desire for social connectivity and community within the business world be an opportunity?
  • Look how to double-down on subscription revenues. Can you communicate more value or transition to a membership model with a more personalised offer?
  • Repackage content and sell at a different price bracket of to a different audience.

6.  Prepare for a downturn and change in working patterns

Preparing for an economic downturn is gloomy but also pragmatic. Many sectors are and will experience a slump as the economy goes into recession. Instead of hoping that things will go back to normal (bit vague – what is normal?) all companies must prepare themselves for leaner times. Publishers will be exposed to the vagaries of their customers’ spend and will need to regularly reforecast, find efficiencies and reduce overheads. Additionally, in the short-to-medium term working patterns for staff will change with more homeworking and less face-to-face contact, which will change daily operations. On this point the future is unknown, but the successful companies will be those that develop new approaches rather than reacting with short-term solutions.

Looking to the future

In summary, I think the publishers and B2B info companies that will come through this crisis in good shape are those that work hard to:

  • Build personal relationships with their key customers and empathises with their needs,
  • Communicate the value of their product and reinforce why the content and data is trustworthy,
  • Deliver products that help the users complete a task (particularly important as so many are working remotely),
  • Develop a diversified product portfolio, by sector, usage and audience, and,
  • Think creatively about how to turn a crisis into an opportunity.

The cliched saying that we are living in unprecedented times is of course a truism. We are living in challenging times and are having to rapidly change the way we work. Publishers which will be most successful are those that adapt to this huge challenge facing humanity – a new challenge for everyone involved.

7 key trends for B2B research publishers in 2020

To mark the end of one decade and in anticipation of the next (is it really 20 years since the Millennium!) we have highlighted trends that are likely to shape high-value business-to-business research publishing over the next 12 months and beyond.

Our seven trends that forward-thinking research publishers should consider as we move into 2020 are…

#1 Continued emphasis on subscriptions

Publishers will continue to try and persuade low value customers to become subscribers that provide recurring revenues. There are multiple routes to this goal, including the development of membership programmes with dynamic pricing, or planning an upgrade path from first interaction to fully-fledged high-value customer.

Technology enables this process to run more smoothly by personalising the user journey and establishing a upsell mechanism that encourages single copy customers to develop a deeper relationship with the publisher.

#2 The customer at the heart of decisions

The next 12 months will see greater emphasis on customer centricity and developing this mindset across the organisation. This will mean publishers spending as much time as possible with their customers to really understand the value they provide.

Customer centricity isn’t just about cementing external relationships: product teams will be working alongside customer-facing teams to ensure products are on point. We anticipate that those in customer-facing roles, such as sales, should become more involved in product design and development.

#3 Embedding interactive data

We expect publishers to really start tackling the technical challenge of how to allow users secure and seamless access to different content types. Specifically, we are thinking about how interactive data can be made securely available alongside written analysis – or embedded within.

By making use of single sign-on systems and/or technical integrations, users can be provided with access to the specific content they need even more quickly and easily.

#4 Making use of accessible AI

In 2020 artificial intelligence and the computing power needed to run advanced algorithms will become more accessible than ever before.

Publishers will have the potential to develop search that understands what is contained in a piece of content and the nature of its relationship to other content types. Deepening the quality of search can help users cut through content noise to specific information that answers their questions.

#5 Shortening time-to-publish workflows

Customers of syndicated market research will increasingly demand more timely data and insight. This puts pressure on publishers to reduce the time spent developing, producing and publishing content. A digital-first workflow – enter-once-distribute-anywhere – will be the goal.

In 2020, publishers will start to look harder for efficiencies in the authoring and production process. This could take the form of automated content reviews, in-platform authoring or on-the-fly design.

#6 Differentiation through content design

We anticipate high-value publishers will place greater emphasis on content design as a branding mechanism. This should help create a sense of authority, value and quality that will set them apart from less compelling sources that are either free or low cost.

We expect content to be more specifically designed for screen consumption, rather than print. As such, data and storytelling content is likely to become more visual with fewer words.

#7 Analytics at the heart of everything

Readership and content usage stats will be increasingly used by publishers to manage their business. Customer usage data will underpin subscription renewal discussions as perceived use of content will be challenged by data on actual use.

Taking cues from the B2C world, editors will use data on topic or article popularity to help with content commissioning.

Life science advisory firm launches new brand to publish in rich formats for multiple brands

ScienceandMedicine

With Publish Interactive powering its new delivery platform, Science and Medicine Group is able to serve multiple audiences through a single site.

SMG

Science and Medicine Group is a leading research and advisory firm serving the life science, analytical instrument, diagnostic, healthcare, radiology, and dental industries. It provides research and business information through text-based sector reports and visually-rich slide decks.

After a string of acquisitions – and as part of a rebrand – Science and Medicine Group needed to create a single repository to aid the creation, distribution, and cross-sell of its research content.

Clients across its distinct brands have varied requirements around the type of content they receive. As such, Science and Medicine Group needed an online tool that could serve content in multiple formats, but with a consistent user experience.

The business also needed a solution that would allow it to offer a subscription service to its market report portfolio to simplify the purchase process for its clients.

“Having a start-of-the-art publishing distribution system in place will allow our clients to secure access to our business intelligence for their entire team or company. This will greatly streamline the effort required to identify and purchase market reports covering all of the topics of interest to their organization,” said Justin Dudash, Head of Marketing, Science and Medicine Group.

A single destination

With Publish Interactive powering its new delivery platform, Science and Medicine Group is able to serve multiple audiences through a single site.

“We now operate eight distinct brands, with five of them publishing brands. Bioinformatics, Instrument Business Outlook, IMV Research, Kalorama Information, and Strategic Directions International.each have strong brand recognition and reputation in their respective industries” added Dudash.

To maintain the independence of each brand, individual reports are categorized according to their specific publisher. In addition, Science and Medicine Group created a landing page for each brand within the platform, promoting the catalogue of market reports available and to encourage cross-selling opportunities for its clients.

The landing pages act as a key destination for highlighting content to users, while industry-specific categories enable Science and Medicine Group to make it easier for users to find and access content relevant to their interests.

Multiple formats

Different user expectations across its multiple brands means Science and Medicine Group is required to publish content in varied formats to suit these audiences.

“Our Kalorama Information brand creates and publishes content in Word, whereas our other brands create and publish documents of up to 1,000 pages in PowerPoint to allow their audiences to easily absorb charts and table-rich content. Publish Interactive’s technology elegantly handles both publishing methods which enables us to offer content in the formats our distinct audiences prefer. It also provides an excellent user experience where content is easily searchable, accessible, and reusable across all formats and content types.”

Subscriptions

The adoption of a single destination also allows Science and Medicine Group to highlight the depth and breadth of all its brands to customers for the first time.

While searching for content, users will be shown all related material – both in and outside of their licensed access. This will allow users to consider content beyond their current subscription and make ad-hoc purchases of additional material when needed to support their strategic planning.

In addition to selling brand-specific subscriptions, Science and Medicine Group can now also offer industry-specific subscriptions that span multiple publishers.

“Implementing Publish Interactive is helping us to democratize information within our client companies, such that the thousands of users on our platform have direct access to the business intelligence they need, when they need it.”

Tags

  • Branding
  • Content Management
  • Digital Transformation

How an energy industry consultancy merged three research products into a single platform

Thanks to a partnership with Publish Interactive, WoodMac has been able to equip its Power & Renewables division to serve customers more efficiently and with a higher degree of user satisfaction.

Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac) is a highly-regarded global research firm for the energy, chemical, and extractive industries. It provides data and insights to inform business decisions, with new content published daily across the group.

Demand for market intelligence from WoodMac has led to the acquisition of two related industry-knowledge businesses in the Power & Renewables sector – but this left the business managing customers across three separate content platforms with varied user experiences, structures and functionality across the sites.

‘Having three platforms was a problem…’

Thanks to a partnership with Publish Interactive, WoodMac has been able to equip its Power & Renewables division to serve customers more efficiently and with a higher degree of user satisfaction.

“WoodMac has grown by acquisition, since 2016, we have taken on Greentech Media and MAKE to bolster our Power & Renewables offering, but this left us with three separate self-service platforms,” said Matthew DaPrato, Product Suite Director, Power & Renewables, WoodMac.

“Having three platforms to run was a problem. Similar products across the sites had different names, each platform had a unique structure, and functionality was varied across the sites, there was no consistency.”

WoodMac used Publish Interactive’s publishing and monetisation platform to merge the content of WoodMac, Make, and Greentech Media. Its Power & Renewables information is now published under the WoodMac brand through a single, customer-centric web portal.

“The Publish Interactive system is intuitive and it’s simple to use. Publish Interactive has elegant features; particularly its search, which has really helped our engagement, both internally and externally. We have also been able to align our structures and add consistency across our Power & Renewables content,” added Matthew.

‘Lots of customers didn’t know what content we had…’

With content spread across three platforms, WoodMac was spending a significant proportion of time dealing with queries as customers couldn’t easily find the content they needed.

“Many of our customers didn’t really understand the breadth of information we had,” said Matthew. “Now, we can organise around topics, subject categories, and even products to make it easier for customers find and access every piece of content that might be useful to them.

Making it easier for clients to understand the entire Power & Renewables content portfolio and to find and access content for themselves contributed to growing ‘per user’ engagement levels in the first three months of using Publish Interactive.” Matthew described this change as a “ very encouraging sign.”

‘It allowed us to move to market quickly…’

With 365 pieces of content published in 2018, WoodMac is used to creating and releasing new Power & Renewables materials almost every day. As such, it wanted to avoid a long implementation of publishing technology. It needed a solution that would satisfy its customers’ needs and that could be up and running in the shortest possible time.

“Implementation was critical for us,” added Matthew. “We wanted to do it quickly, we only had a tight window to bring new a platform online… considering all the technology and stakeholders we had to engage, we managed to get it done pretty efficiently.”

The speed of implementation allowed WoodMac to go to market quickly with its new unified brand and, in doing so, enabled its clients to engage with its Power & Renewables content in a new, user-friendly environment at the earliest possible opportunity.

Tags

  • Content Management
  • Digital Transformation
  • Search

How moving to a subscription model helps research firms fix costs, remove revenue fluctuation, and then grow big…

The great benefit of a research business shifting from a transactional model to one based on subscriptions is that it helps the firm know its basic monthly income and be reassured that revenue will reoccur in the months to come, but often the cost-saving benefit and positive effect this can have on future revenues is overlooked.

Fixed costs = no headaches

The move to a subscriptions model usually means the adoption of a new piece of software through which the process, along with many other client-friendly functions, can be managed.

The selection of this new technology can be a vital decision and, often, can be the difference between a research firm’s new business model thriving or floundering. Use of the right SaaS system can keep your client relationships bubbling along nicely and help you know your costs into perpetuity.

How does it do this? By removing all the uncertainty associated with building an in-house solution.

An established serviced solution doesn’t have to be developed, tested, then managed and upgraded as it becomes old fashioned. A high-quality system will be in constant evolution; with upgrades and fixes applied each month, with no extra cost, with no downtime, and without the publisher having to build an expensive in-house team to support the technology.

Licencing a serviced software solution to manage research subscriptions takes all the risk out of this investment – and more importantly, it helps refocus research businesses around their core tasks of creating and selling research.

In fact, the challenge of running a research business is simplified; it no longer has to be about managing the technical elements to provide research, it instead becomes refocused on increasing the value of the research publisher’s relationship with its clients.

Know your income, build on that income…

With all clients on subscriptions, and all costs known upfront, a research publisher can begin to accurately forecast its minimum monthly income.

What this does is bring assurance, and with it comes a shift in focus. If your sales team isn’t worried each month about meeting report sales quotas, naturally attention will shift to the cross- and upsell opportunities, as these are now the avenues to build on those monthly revenue subs.

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.

The long term in salesrooms therefore becomes: what can I do to improve the offering to this client? How can I deepen this relationship in a way that will only make the service we offer them better than last month?

That’s no longer a salesperson and a target; that’s a working relationship with the aim of growing the customer offering in the knowledge that, thanks to the fixed costs of the business, every additional bit of income created is additional profit.

How a SaaS publishing platform helps research and analysis firms retain clients and increase revenue

The basic way business information firms win trust and turn prospects into customers is through the provision of high-quality research and analysis – but beyond this win, what steps can they take to ensure customers retain their enthusiasm and belief in the service they are being provided?

To put it simply, how does a research and analysis business keep surprising and delighting its customers beyond simply supplying good quality information?

Here at Publish Interactive we work in collaborative partnerships with our research and analysis clients on this very issue. The solution, we’ve found, isn’t complicated – it’s simply a matter of pairing our unique, highly-customizable technology with consultancy tailored to the specific needs of our individual customers.

Improved technology = happier customers

If we look solely at how retention rates can be improved and revenue encouraged upward from your existing customer base, then a technological solution starts to look all the more inviting. Getting more from your existing customers could be as simple as enhancing the way you supply them with information.

Instead of supplying your customers with a PDF report that is time-consuming to read and difficult to extract information from, why not integrate that content into their workflow?

A smart publishing system can turn a whole report into a series of chapters and content snippets that researchers can search through easily. Finding data or analysis only then takes as long as entering a term and clicking the button for the results. Once the researcher has all the necessary information at hand, a smart publishing technology should allow them to compile this content, then author and export their own bespoke reports – all without having to go through lots of tiresome copying and pasting into traditional authoring tools.

Once technology is engrained into a researcher’s workflow in this way, it encourages greater use and further engagement with a publisher’s content. Then, if your technology is good, customers can add comments and share those with colleagues as well as creating quick, custom reports on-the-fly that help fuel day-to-day discussion.

Happier customers = sales potential

When greater engagement (as demonstrated above) is coupled with good search, it can make a publisher’s whole portfolio more visible and useful to customers. Imagine also a search engine that allows you to highlight key, related, or recently published content – that’s a great cross- and up-sell opportunity right there.

Instead of focusing solely on single sales, features like this can encourage multiple report purchases and even makes it easier to introduce a subscription-based model for those researchers that find your platform integral to their day-to-day tasks.

Gaining end user info

The more you’re able to understand about your end users’ interests, the greater your ability to guide them to relevant content – which raises the question: what kind of actionable information can they provide you?

  • Account health – have they logged in recently? Have they left? Who are your ‘at risk’ users?
  • Engagement – what’s their access pattern over time? How much time do they spend on the platform?
    What kind of bounce rate do you get from users? Or from different content sets or formats?
  • What kind of content are they searching for, accessing and downloading?
  • What haven’t they already viewed that could be relevant?
  • How many users have you converted from single sales into subscribers?

Additional publisher benefits

A good publishing system makes life easier for your customers by embedding the content and various access tools they’ll need into the heart of their working day – but benefits of a system like this aren’t exclusively the preserve of your customers.

A high-quality publishing platform should allow easy editing of published content, freeing the author’s time so they can focus on improving quality and generating additional material.

In addition, usage stats should provide valuable information that can be used in customer analysis to further improve content production and marketing promotions.

What about buying-in a solution or in-house development?

It’s likely any business information provider who developed their own publishing system or bought-in software could find improvements to their customer retention and satisfaction rates, but we think they might quickly run into a whole new set of problems.

Here at Content Catalyst we have been developing the Publish Interactive platform for more than 12 years. In fact, that’s all we do! Our every effort is spent constantly refining and improving the way the publishing platform works for our customers, and their users too. But this only really works because of our close collaborative approach. By working directly with our clients we can customize our technology to their specific requirements.

This process of continual refinement comes as part of the package to help keep our customers supplied with the most up-to-date technology possible; but if you were to buy software, or develop it, your firm would continually be managing upgrade projects to stay relevant. That’s expensive, and so is employing a tech team to run it all.

A serviced software solution lets you know your long-term costs, helps you stay at the cutting-edge of technology, and ensures you can win new business.

Why reports aren’t declining – but the future of market intelligence is changing

Are market reports really in decline? Well, we think that’s the wrong question. 

An assertion that exists in the Market Intelligence sector states that in the digital age nobody has time to read lengthy research reports, people want usable data and they want it now. 

Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, it’s a partial, industry-centric view that doesn’t fully consider the needs of the customer. Let’s have a look why that might be… 

The wrong question

Let’s kick-off by dealing with the ‘reports question’. Are reports really in decline? Well, we think that’s the wrong question. 

Customers don’t really care about formats. They want Market Intelligence queries answered quickly and easily; they want robust, high-quality, trustworthy information; and they want to easily re-use those answers they find. 

The problem with research reports is simply that they’re stuck in a format that’s become less user-friendly than it used to be. 

What has changed?

Static research reports were originally the only way customers could get answers to their queries – but now reports are too time-consuming and difficult for customers to search; in addition, the information they contain is fixed – once it’s published it becomes out of date, and these are not documents from which it’s easy to extract information– nor do they make it easy to reuse this information. 

These disadvantages, coupled with the relative improvements in data services, have made data preferable to old-fashioned long-form content. If the technology playing field was levelled, however, this preference wouldn’t exist. 

Why is this? Well, data isn’t without its own limitations. It’s laborious to find true insights in data without context and analysis. The fact that users often express a preference for data doesn’t shows how wonderful data are but simply how frustrated users have become with PDFs. 

What has stayed the same?

Customers still need answers but expectation is such now that a more efficient and intuitive way to gather and reuse information is needed. When people talk of the decline in the reports model, what they mean is just that nobody wants to read large PDFs to find the answers they’re looking for. The customer has evolved, research delivery has not. Searching on Google and using data is only preferable because it’s more convenient. It’s not a fundamental solution. 

Let us explain why… 

The reality of relying on Google and data

Let’s deal with search first… If the customer wants questions answered quickly – surely, they’ll just Google it? Well, not so… let’s look at the pros and cons: 

As we can see, search might offer some benefits but the customer’s time is valuable and searching the internet isn’t able to consistently provide the customer with quick access to content that is of a reliable quality, from a trusted source, and that is easy to use and re-use. 

“Reports in PDF format are a turn off for customers who have prioritised convenience. Searching Google or reviewing data in isolation aren’t that useful or convenient, they’re just better than sifting through PDFs; as a result, customers end up expressing a preference for either data or Google because of the technology involved.”

Mitali Mookerjee

Managing Director, Content Catalyst

Now, let’s look at the limitation of just relying on data…

If the customer wants questions answered in context, how can the future be just data? Data alone has no story, no context, without analysis is not conclusive or even useful. Without analysis, context, or expertise to focus on the right data, erroneous conclusions can be drawn – isn’t this bad for business? 

It takes a lot of work to find patterns in data and to cross-reference these with the industry events and trends that are vital to a proper understanding of the market dynamics. We think analysts should have a central role to identify what is happening and support this with exhibits that bring their stories to life. 

And he’s the vital point: 

These insights should be easy to find and use, and the exhibits should integrate with the underlying data – so that users can customise data exhibits to their own specific scenarios. 

Now, doesn’t that sound a bit like a report to you? 

In the end, it all boils down to usability…

Market Intelligence is made up of different complementary elements – insights, data, news, analyst access etc. None of these on their own can be a complete solution. Just as home entertainment is comprised of radio, TV, films, books, newspapers, etc – individuals may enjoy one format more than others, but most consume a mix of all formats. 

Thinking similarly, the ideal Market Intelligence delivery platform combines different formats in a universal experience and leverage the full benefits of each format. 

Reports in PDF format, as we have already suggested, are a turn off for customers who have prioritised convenience; searching Google or reviewing data in isolation aren’t that useful or convenient, they’re just better than sifting through PDFs; as a result, customers end up expressing a preference for either data or Google because of the technology involved. 

That is not a solution. It’s a false choice shaped by a frustrated user who can’t get what they want from PDF reports. Reports aren’t the problem, it’s the format. 

So, enhance the format…  

Tags

  • Delivering Data
  • Digital Transformation
  • End-user workflow