How publishers of market analysis are using technology to streamline subscriber workflows

For publishers of B2B market analysis, creating high-quality content is no longer enough – they must also save their subscribers that most valuable of assets – time.

Time is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity across the board, and the world of B2B publishing is no exception.

Consequently, immediate access to highly targeted, pertinent information and an intuitive, frictionless process to access and re-purpose this information are now key concerns for consumers of market analysis. Publishers can no longer expect to serve up useful content and immediately produce satisfied subscribers – their content must also fit into a well-planned, thoroughly-tested workflow process designed to streamline their subscribers’ time if it is to provide true value.

Here are just a few reasons why publishers should be considering the role their content plays in their subscribers’ day-to-day tasks and we provide an overview of the workflow tools required to streamline these end-user workflows.

Maximising content value in the subscription age

The rise of subscription packages has led to a reciprocal increase in the number of reports users have access to as content becomes more concise and tailored to individual user needs. This trend has meant that ad-hoc purchases of lengthy PDF-authored reports delivered over email and the limited functionality necessary with this delivery method no longer applies to the needs or buying habits of most end-users.

Edwin Bailey, Director of Marketing at Publish Interactive elaborates: “If a subscriber has access to more than one hundred PDF reports, they’re going to need an efficient means of extracting what they need and make all that content work in their favour in a consistent, quick and accurate manner, enabling them to maximise the value of their subscription”.

Large, increasingly diverse libraries of content have made efficient extraction of relevant information a must for publishers and poses a headache for those who have not picked up on this aspect of the end-user journey.

This poses the question: what workflow features can be incorporated into content delivery platforms to streamline the end-user experience?

Search is key

Central to the effectiveness of workflow tools is the quality of search, followed by the structuring of returns. Search functionality is so highly valued that clients have been known to cancel entire global subscriptions if they feel as though their employees cannot quickly and intuitively find the information they need.

The content produced may be valuable, but if it can’t be located what purpose does it serve?

Allowing end-users to search for key terms across an entire library of content, displaying these terms within the context of the report it is found in, and having the ability to filter terms by content type transforms the search-based workflow experience and ensures end-users can quickly find the information they need.

“Search functionality is so highly valued that clients have been known to cancel entire global subscriptions if their employees cannot quickly and intuitively find the information they need.”

Collate and Export

The purpose of workflow tools is to accomplish complex processes with minimal user intervention in as short a time period as possible.

For instance, end-users do not want to compare data or analysis across multiple reports by manually opening and navigating between individual documents. Saving relevant sections, viewing relevant returns for all reports, or viewing corresponding sections side-by-side in report series creates a dynamic, intuitive reading experience free from laborious, manual navigation. Once relevant information is located, it should then be easily saveable to a custom content library for later use.

Allowing subscribers to collate pertinent information in-platform is useful, but publishers have often sought ways to fully immerse themselves into their end-user workflows. In-platform functionality allowing these multi-formatted content snippets to be exported and integrated into a single Office document is a powerful way of achieving this.

End-user workflow diagram - png

Creating an intuitive, integrated user journey such as the example above maximises the value and impact of high-quality, informative analysis.

Boosting renewal rates

Following a subscription purchase, the capabilities offered by a content delivery system to streamline workflows and enable the consumer to easily collate bespoke reports could be the overriding factor driving positive renewal discussions. A user-friendly solution will also act as the catalyst for wider use amongst colleagues, expanding the subscriber base within that company and providing further growth opportunities.

From streamlining and automating repeatable tasks and effectively pulling together analysis to increasing overall efficiency and empowering your customers to work more productively, the benefits of having a workflow system in place as part of a subscription model are clear and should be a natural counterpoint to a publishers’ high-quality analysis.

Four questions publishers of B2B information should ask about their subscribers’ work:

1. What tasks does the subscriber use my content for?
2. What (specific) tasks does the user need to perform to get the job done?
3. To perform these tasks what steps does a user need to take?
4. What workflow tools can we provide to reduce friction or speed task completion?

Tags

  • End-user workflow
  • Search
  • Subscribers

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

About Content Catalyst Ltd

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How market analysts and intelligence professionals buy, use and apply research in their work

Key drivers for building trust in market analysis

In order to succeed in the intangible world of market analysis you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Email me the handbook

This whitepaper will improve your understanding of how readers and users of syndicated B2B content and market data perform their tasks. The findings draw on first-hand interviews and surveys of senior people working in US and European companies in market and competitive intelligence analysis roles.

Data charts included:

  • Average size of a corporate market analyst and competitive intelligence team
  • Main internal customers for departmental work
  • Main activities market analysts and CI professionals are involved in
  • Average number of syndicated reports respondents purchase a year
  • Major competitive intelligence challenge in a company

The whitepaper will help you understand:

  • What buyers of syndicated market reports think about publishers
  • Key tasks that competitive intelligence professionals carry out
  • Why trust is the most important asset for publishers and in-house market analysts
  • How market analysts can demonstrate value and influence decision-making

If you are involved in either selling or buying high-value B2B content or data, then this whitepaper is essential reading.

How workflow tools are critical to the success of a research firm’s subscription model

When a customer buys a single report supplied over email in PDF format, they can just sit and read it. No functionality is required to help them do this. But if a subscriber has access to more than 100 reports, to make all that content work in their favour, they’re going to need some help to find and pull out all the necessary and pertinent information.

For the relationships that exist between all pieces of content in a portfolio to add up, and for customers to be able to maximise the value of their subscription, a publishing firm needs to provide end users with a set of smart tools.

Improved levels of service

For an individual subscription to be worthwhile, the user has to feel like its benefiting them and helping them to their job better and quicker. A wealth of workflow tools not only helps the user achieve this, it helps a publishing firm understand more about what the user wants and enables them to feed this back into the development process.

So then, which tools are most useful?

Good quality search and the structuring of returns is vital. In fact, search is the number one workflow tool, in terms of usefulness to the subscriber. Corporates value search so highly some have been known to cancel entire global subscriptions because users have not been able to find the information they need from large portfolios.

If an end user is trying to make a comparison of data or analysis from multiple reports, it’s unlikely they’ll want to open all those reports simultaneously. A snippet of each relevant section is more useful. In addition, it might be quite handy for a user to view relevant returns for all reports – even those for they don’t yet have access to.

Relevant snippets of content should then be easily saveable in a clippings list, which is equally easy to locate at a later date.

So, you’ve found info. What next?

What about exporting various points of information, wherever they have come from and in whatever format, and unifying them all for export as an Office doc?

Search, find relevant content, save to clippings, and export to Word, PPT, or Excel in seconds. Then edit your document in the platform to finalise that dataset for your meeting, that presentation for the Board, or that report for your boss, without having to reformat any of the elements it contains.

Smart tools = happy users

Once a subscription has been sold, the ability for the end user to easily navigate and pull together bespoke reports is the main element that will ensure high renewal rates. It’s this simplicity that will also encourage end-users to advocate use of the platform amongst colleagues and for a subscriber base to grow within that 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