Four Building Blocks for High-Performing B2B Subscriptions

How to optimise B2B subscriptions for customer success and value

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Start your journey to building high-performing subscription products today.

Over the past ten years, subscription models have transformed. They are now less about a payment method and more about choice and convenience for the customer. Consequently, unlocking customer lifetime value is getting harder.

How do companies that want to succeed design an offer that delivers a compelling product and gives the customer great value?

Four building blocks for high-performing B2B subscriptions introduces the methodology publishers need when shifting from a ‘traditional’ subscription product to one optimised for customer loyalty.

The whitepaper, written in collaboration with Andy Burden & Steve Budd of Substribe, a B2B subscription consultancy, introduces the four building blocks that B2B media or services companies must follow to unlock customer lifetime value.

When B2B services help customers do their jobs better, the foundations are set for a healthy subscription business.

Access your copy of the whitepaper today and start your journey to developing subscription products that will generate substantial rewards for your business.

Contents

The journey to high-performing subscriptions

The transition to customer obsession

Where are you on the journey?

The drivers of success

Getting the right balance

The four building blocks

1: Purposeful organisation

2: Customer obsession

3: Value-based pricing

4: Time to value

Grow your capabilities for success

Figures

Figure 1: The differences between Traditional vs High Performing Subscriptions
Figure 2: The challenging subscription economy
Figure 3: Example capabilities scorecard

Four Building Blocks for High-Performing B2B Subscriptions - whitepaper
This whitepaper introduces the four building blocks to unlocking lifetime customer value.

Instant Access, Instant Results – how TGaS transformed engagement across their life science industry reports

Using Publish Interactive’s Instant Access links, TGaS Advisors offers their member network frictionless access to the latest research, increasing user engagement and sales opportunities.

TGAS

TGaS Advisors, a division of Trinity Life Sciences, is the leading benchmarking and advisory services firm for commercial organizations in the life sciences industry. With a roster of top 50, emerging and precommercial life sciences companies, TGaS provides robust comparative intelligence and collaborative network membership services. The team includes more than 60 experienced professionals, most with senior-level experience in the life sciences and related industries.
TGaS provides research and surveying advice through market analysis reports called ‘Landscape Studies’ and ‘VHows’– short-form content pieces that deliver critical insight through survey data.

TGaS Advisors compiles business-critical content covering key life sciences issues by aggregating data taken from surveys of their international member network of industry professionals. Members suggest ideas for studies to TGaS who then “build and create a short survey with clients,” explains Jill Campanella, Associate Product Manager of Executive Commercial Operations at TGaS.

The member network then anonymously partakes in the surveys for access to the results, known as VHows. It is a decidedly communal method of content creation and the firm’s former method of content delivery reflected this collective mindset.

Until recently, VHows were emailed to members by TGaS analysts as PDFs. This process was key for survey participants as they expected ungated access to the content they contributed to.

Despite the minimal barrier to end-users accessing VHows, TGaS discovered the limitations of PDF delivery meant that it was impossible to track content usage, and due to a login barrier, members were less likely to enter the Insights Portal which contains all of TGaS’ published member content.

The TGaS team wanted to monitor reader analytics but was reluctant to force members to log in to access the VHows, so continued to rely on email delivery. This resulted in a clunky reading experience for end-users and reduced engagement with the wider library of content.

Screenshot of TGaS Advisors insights portal

The TGaS Insights Reports Platform Homepage

Unlocking the gate to expose the full breadth of content

This posed the challenge: how could TGaS implement a system capable of replicating the ungated access email delivery affords while also driving users to their Insights Portal? The solution lay in Publish Interactive’s Instant Access technology which, as Ms. Campanella and her team discovered, meant “there was no barrier to the portal anymore.” With a small amount of custom coding TGaS streamlined the distribution of instant access links which allows recipients “to hop over” the password.

Bypassing this initial log-in has created the frictionless VHow distribution experience that TGaS has been striving for; one where content usage is clear without sacrificing any accessibility and where TGaS’ industry expertise is demonstrated by giving users exposure to the portal.

As the central repository of TGaS’ research content, exposure to the Insights Portal is vital for maximising the client’s value. Sending standalone, siloed content out to members was not exhibiting their full breadth of research. “Now, clients are getting more value because not only are they getting a link to that VHow, but then they are in the portal and can easily log in to browse around, so it’s elevating the visibility of the TGaS Insights Portal and enhancing the value our clients get from that technology,” says Ms. Campanella.

“Now, clients are getting more value because they are in the portal and can easily login to browse around, so it’s elevating the visibility of the TGaS Insights Portal and enhancing the value our clients get from that technology”

Jill Campanella
Jill Campanella
Associate Product Manager of Executive Commercial Operations
TGaS Advisors

Proactive membership building

Improved accessibility also led to increasing numbers of users in the portal itself. TGaS is proactively adding new users who are in the professional network but not active portal members. Ms. Campanella explains: “Previously our workflow didn’t identify people that weren’t portal users. We were just sending the VHows out and then we had the self-registration process, so there was a gap. Now we’re getting and building more of a user base in the portal which is helping more people get value from the membership.”

In addition to exposure to TGaS’ full content portfolio, added value comes in the form of the enhanced reading experience. Users now take advantage of powerful in-platform workflow tools and search, allowing them to find and re-purpose pertinent information quickly and easily – tools that are unavailable with standard PDF delivery.

Summarising TGaS’ experience with Instant Access technology, Ms. Campanella concludes: “it’s really a win-win for us – it’s good for our clients and it’s good for us.”

Key benefits of TGaS’ use of Instant Access technology

  1. Improved content engagement due to the superior reading experience on the TGaS Insights Portal compared to standard PDF delivery.
  2. More members accessing the Insights Portal due to the improved accessibility of the VHows.
  3. Easier for members to discover the full breadth of TGaS content, which boosts client engagement.

Tags

  • Content Management
  • Subscription Renewals
  • User Journey

5 ways publishers can harness subscription technology to grow

The right technology is vital for market research publishers to grow their business via subscriptions and build a quality service for subscribers.

Digital technology continues to drive subscriptions growth

During the pandemic, streaming services and news subscriptions boomed, and publishers with already successful digital subscription services thrived.

Online video streaming services, for example, reached 1.1 billion for the first time, and companies like Netflix experienced historical growth. According to Zuora, a subscription management company, subscription revenue for publishers grew by 16% in 2020.

Subscriptions may have been around for years, but it’s digital technologies and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour that drives continued growth. As a result, how publishers of market analysis deliver research is also changing.

The pandemic made it even more apparent that publishers can no longer depend on advertising or selling one-off reports or data for growth. Being subscriber-first brings benefits, including less reliance on more fickle revenue sources.

But moving from a transactional to a recurring revenue model, or improving on an existing service, requires the right publishing technology. It should enable publishers to develop a relationship over time that moves subscribers from one-off trial transactions onto a subscription.

From transactional to personalised: The four types of commercial relationships for high-value market analysis products

Here are five ways Publish Interactive can help niche publishers to develop subscription services and enable subscribers to maximise usage:

  1. Shift focus from acquisition to retention

Subscriptions enable a research publisher to forecast the minimum monthly income accurately. This brings assurance and a shift in focus.

With predictable monthly revenues, the sales team need not be preoccupied with making sales to meet core revenue targets. Their time can be better spent developing customer relationships and finding opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell, based on usage data built into the Publish Interactive platform.

  1. Tools help users gain maximum value from their subscription

For an individual subscription to be worthwhile, the user must feel that it benefits them. It must help them do their job better and save them time.

Workflow tools such as search, snippets, and clippings help users achieve this with simplicity and ease. These tools also allow the publisher to understand subscribers better and develop content and services that meet their needs.

  1. Deliver more personalised content

Technology gives publishers the flexibility to serve various customer groups, each with different requirements. It enables them to offer users several ways of accessing content, encouraging them to deepen their relationship with the publisher.

It enables publishers to manage subscriptions but also allows them to give content away for free, perhaps on a trial basis, and allows transactional sales too.

4. Build subscriber trust and deepen relationships

Once a relationship is established, it becomes easier to find out what else they and their employer may need. Often, an individual will act as an advocate to help publishers win greater trust within their organisation, which supports the growth of a subscriber base within that business.

This is when the quality of a subscription software can really make a difference. It can help develop a lasting partnership with customers by allowing them to access new services quickly and easily.

5. Gain a new understanding of subscribers

The most valuable aspect of adopting a subscription model is how it enables publishers to reach a powerful new understanding of subscriber behaviour.

Analytics underpins every aspect of an intelligent publishing platform. It enables a subscription model to exist, but more importantly it adds value to that subscription, or alerts the sales team to declining renewals.

“Subscriptions may have been around for years, but it’s digital technologies and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour that drive continued growth.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing, Publish Interactive

There is huge opportunity to drive subscription revenue

The pandemic has favoured digital publishers with high quality and trustworthy content. Importantly, delivered with the high level of service that consumers have come to expect from all digital services, including research firms.

With the right technology partner, publishers can confidently take advantage of the continued growth in subscriptions and build a subscriber-first business.

Read the whitepaper: Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis provider

Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis provider

Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis provider

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

The pandemic has highlighted that market intelligence providers cannot depend on advertising or selling one-off reports and data to disparate customers. There is a huge opportunity to drive subscription revenue and become a profitable subscriber-first business. This will also help to future-proof publishers’ income and make them less reliant on more fickle revenue sources.

Subscriber first whitepaper

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Digital technology drives subscription services

Digital services of today – regardless of whether they’re online banking, shopping, or ordering a taxi – offer flexibility, convenience, and above all ease of use.

The result of this change is that end users now expect similar levels of service from all their digital providers – including research firms.

They want information that’s easy to discover, easy to access, then just as easy to use – and publishers that embrace this new requirement will lead the market and prosper.

Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis providerHow niche research firms can use technology to successfully shift from a transactional model to recurring revenues examines the ways technology can empower market intelligence providers by helping them develop subscription services that, in turn, enable end-users to maximise their use of the publisher’s research information and data.

In addition, this will help those who already offer digital subscription services to add finesse by optimising operations and maximising the quality of service they offer to end users.

By reading this whitepaper you will be better able to better consider how to:

  • Use technology to offer compelling subscription packages.
  • Lower risks of revenue loss through IP breaches.
  • Develop compelling end-user experiences to generate engagement.
  • Put usage data at the heart of the customer relationship.

Contents

 

Subscriber-first whitepaper cover
Whitepaper highlights how technology can help drive subscription revenue

The subscription economy effect

Why moving to a subscription model helps niche research firms fix costs and remove revenue fluctuation

Fixed costs equals fewer financial worries
Know your income and build on it

How licencing technology helps research firms evolve commercial models

Developing account journeys
Targeted packages
Not just all you can eat
Upgrades and multiple users
Building on trust
Using licensing to drive adoption and sales

Reducing revenue risks by protecting your content
Staff churn and retained access
Mass downloading (and sharing)
Content usage alerts

How end-user tools are critical to the success of a research firm’s subscription model
Which tools are most useful?
Information found. What next?
User tools for productivity

How a subscription model helps publishers improve their knowledge of customer behaviour
Analytics on content usage
Information helps renewals

Figures

Figure 1: From print to digital – 20 years of B2B content delivery
Figure 2: From transactional to personalised: The four types of commercial relationships for high-value market analysis products
Figure 3: Prospect to trial to subscription model

Content Search: The customer success superpower

Intuitive front-end search and usage data are powerful tools in the sales armoury for market intelligence publishers. These capabilities enable account managers to adopt a customer success rather than a sales-led approach to growing accounts and renewing subscriptions.

Every touchpoint with subscribers is a chance to nurture relationships. Yet, many account managers miss these opportunities because they don’t have the tools that deliver the insights identifying the value for subscribers.

Content search and usage data enable you to better understand the value each subscriber attributes to your products. Importantly, you can use this information to help subscribers unlock more value, resulting in deeper and longer-lasting relationships.

Answer subscriber queries without contacting an analyst

A content query is one scenario where you could use front-end search to grow an account.

Subscribers frequently ask account managers to help them find specific reports or information. But they’re not analysts, so they must refer these queries to someone who is. This incurs a business cost, and subscribers may need to wait hours or days, particularly if an analyst is in a different time zone.

With access to high-powered content search embedded in the Publish Interactive platform, you can answer more of these queries yourself. You can also use the opportunity to show subscribers related content that may be of interest but not apparent by the report titles.

“With Publish Interactive, you can search the knowledge base quickly and easily to demonstrate the broad range of topics, which might not have been apparent from the report titles. This gives clients a direct insight into what they can buy.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing & Product Strategy, Publish Interactive

Use data to initiate value-led conversations with subscribers

While front-end search enables you to help subscribers find the right product, usage data delivers insight into how they access and use the content.

For example, perhaps you notice that a subscriber only accesses your products, or conducts certain searches, at the end of the month. Maybe they are using it to inform end-of-month reports or beginning of the month plans?

Using this information, you can now open a conversation with them to discover more about how they use your products. You’ve also created the opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell services that they’d find useful during the other three weeks.

Identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

You’re more likely to uncover new opportunities to grow revenue when you have in-depth knowledge about subscribers. Science and Medicine Group (S&MG) agree that usage data generated by the Publish Interactive platform enables their account management team to transform 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.” Devin Holland, Former Director of Business Development, Science and Medicine Group

Using analytics, the S&MG team can monitor and identify the number of reports accessed to see which content areas are of most interest and who is requesting access.  They’ve found that the more insight they have, the easier conversations are with clients.

Turn renewals into routine admin tasks

Ultimately, front-end search and usage data give account managers the power to nurture long-term relationships based on customer success.

When subscribers have confidence that your service meets their needs and provides tangible business benefits, renewal becomes a routine admin task rather than an annual renewal call or account check-in.

Tags

  • Management
  • Search
  • Subscription Renewals

Why publishers of market analysis should use analytics to prove value to their subscribers

How does a market analysis firm prove to its subscribers that it offers them great value for money and saves them time? The quality of its analysis might be high, but beyond gathering anecdotal feedback from users, how does it prove to subscribers that it’s meeting their needs?

Interactions

A lot depends on the way the market analysis publisher interacts with its subscribers. If it supplies content as PDFs, spreadsheets, or other documents that can be emailed or downloaded, the firm will be able to establish subjects in which the customer is interested, but that’s about it.

What they don’t know is how useful the document was, how it was used, how many people read it, and scores of other ways the subscriber might have interacted with the content. Establishing this level of detail will take lots of time-consuming and costly follow-up calls or interviews. Even then, the firm can’t be certain that what they’re being told is 100% accurate.

This information void makes it hard for the publisher to prove that its content is useful, used widely and that an investment in it represents good value for money.

Rich information

Usage stats are key. If a market analysis publisher can provide reliable data, not only can it prove its value to the customer, it can legitimately enter negotiations expecting not just to renew, but to enhance the relationship through tailoring the packages it offers to meet the specific needs of each account.

Here are just a few examples of the insights usage stats provide, which can be invaluable during renewal discussions:

  • Which users accessed content
  • What content was accessed
  • How frequently the content was accessed
  • Most popular search terms
  • Most popular content
  • What content was shared among users
  • Whether any communication existed around particular content
  • Most favourable formats
  • Key categories and topics
  • The ways content was re-used once it had been accessed
  • The numbers of hours in-platform content and workflow tools typically saved users

Of course, a market analysis publisher won’t be able to gather data like this unless it uses a smart platform to manage its content delivery and user access. Such is the growing need to provide clients with detailed information on their usage, however, it won’t be long until all publishers are compelled to start using a platform that enables them to demonstrate their usefulness to subscribers.

In addition to simply being able to provide detailed usage feedback, publishers will start to rely on this information, so they can assess the use of their platform and constantly provide the best possible service to their customers.

These requirements mean that within around five years, either through attrition or innovation, the businesses that make up the market analysis sector will be dominated by those who can provide customers with both high-quality research and detailed information on how that research is used.

Kellie

Kellie McMillan
Client Relationship Manager
Publish Interactive

“An account manager who can establish what content has been accessed by users – and their engagement levels – is well-placed to accurately convey to the customer the value of the service they enjoy.”

4 Key questions to answer for successful analytics

1. Can you understand who your active users are?
To fully understand your content usage, you should be able to see every single action a user has taken on the platform, including logins, searches, downloads, and even what part of the document has been re-used.

2. Can you review which content is popular?
Using the information gathered from your analytics, you should be able to understand which topics are most popular and be able to use this information to write content in the future based on demand.

3. Do you know if you are missing potential leads?
If you can see which users have tried to view a report they do not have a license to you can then reach out to offer new sales opportunities.

4. Do you understand true subscriber value?
Looking at the usage of many users within an account will prove the value of the content when it comes to retention of the account. If the content is simply downloaded then shared with other team members you miss that important usage information and don’t understand the true value of the account when it comes to the renewal conversation.

See how Publish Interactive’s Analytics features can transform your usage analytics reporting.

Tags

  • Analytics
  • Subscribers
  • Subscription Renewals

5 actionable tips to boost B2B subscription renewals to ensure a great year

Subscribers are the publisher’s lifeblood. Retaining them is no longer the sole role of the account manager…

The days of an annual telephone call and a cheque in the post are long gone. B2B information buyers are more under budget pressure, more demanding about what content they invest in, more savvy with their budgets! Here are five tips to boost your subscription renewal rates.

A successful annual renewal can be the difference between enjoying a good year or suffering a bad one, so how does a publisher turn a critical event into a formality? Using technology to engage your subscribers with your content is now an important part of this process.

Tip 1 -Use data as evidence

Stats on how research is used, customer behaviour and content popularity help justify renewal fees. The technology a publisher uses to supply content and interact with business subscribers should provide a wealth of information that enables them to demonstrate the value it provides.

Edify Digital Media – a London-based publisher of leather market information, uses content usage data to understand what their customers like and develop upselling campaigns. Edify’s co-founder Maria Wallace elaborates; “As publishers, user analytics are valuable as they provide information showing what content is of most interest – so we can produce more – and warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities”.

Tip 2 – Underplay the renewal and build in reliance

The ideal situation is for the renewal process to become a predictable, administrative task. For example, within the SaaS sector where there is baked-in reliance on the service, renewals are often not a problem. Renewals become an issue for publishers if the content is no longer deemed to provide a good return on the cost.

If an account manager can make use of dashboards and alerts to quickly stay up-to-speed on how content is being used, they don’t need to wait for the renewal. If a new piece of content is published that has high relevance for a customer but lies outside their licence, a manager has a range of options to deepen the customer relationship. They might provide time-limited free access, offer a discount, or even use this content as a way to cross-sell into a new area.

Whichever approach is taken, proactive help of this kind ensures the client maximises their subscription and is regularly reminded of the value the publisher provides.

Tip 3 – Help subscribers use content to perform tasks

In a highly competitive market where content quality and price are often similar, research publishers can use technology to help their users access just the information they need. That means enabling them to buy, search, export and compile bespoke reports in a practical way. Brett Azuma, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer at 451 Research, commenting on how technology helps publishing content in a granular way said, “It will allow us to play a more integral role in how our clients work. One of our strategic goals is to become more embedded in their workflows… It will be easier for them to find what they’re looking for and extract this into documents or spreadsheets.”

Content that is quick to access is a great way for an end user to gain the knowledge they need, when they need it. But what if subscribers have to compile a report or presentation? This is where content that’s also quick to reuse can set forward-thinking publishers apart. If a publisher can embrace technology to help a user perform such workflow tasks such as saving snippets and downloading into multiple ‘ready-to-go’ formats the content is more likely to become a favoured resource for the subscriber.

Enable subscribers to find and use relevant content in the quickest and easiest way possible with technology and tools that empower, engage and enhance the efficiency of a user’s workflow.

The point of differentiation to help a publisher drive reliance could include:

  • Options that help a user buy an additional chapter or section – rather than a whole report – from outside their licence.
  • Search functionality that provides specific returns to help a user quickly access relevant sections of text, tables or graphics.
  • Empowering the user to clip a section of content and then compile and export their own bespoke reports containing all the tailored content snippets they have gathered.

Tip 4 – Enhance user engagement

Publishers keen to improve user engagement need to work proactively to help clients maximise their subscription. This means regularly suggesting cross and upsell opportunities and implementing a system of saved searches and alerts to notify users of new and relevant content. TGaS Advisors, a strategic advisory company in life sciences use software functions to drive engagement with their content. Associate Director Tarra Maeshima expands; “Saved searches and alerts are a big deal for customer relationships. Customers only seek information when it’s necessary, so alerts are a useful way for them to stay on top of relevant information and dive into content quickly when answers are needed.”

Tip 5 – Engage subscribers with flexible licences

Publishers looking to become market leaders can benefit from using technology to offer flexible subscription models that more closely fit the clients’ requirements. Instead of offering them access to everything, what about something more nuanced?

Using sophisticated taxonomy, publishers can tag and categorise content in ways that make it easy to provide access to unique verticals of content and simple to add additional pieces – or whole new categories – to a subscription in a single click.

Ultimately, it’s all about publishers offering more value to customers than just the content and then being able to demonstrate the value it provides.

Recap – Our 5 tips to improve subscriber renewal rates

  1. Use data to support the value subscribers get from content
  2. Build reliance on content that makes the renewal seem second nature
  3. Enhance user engagement with task-based workflow tools
  4. Encourage easy content (re)use
  5. Offer subscribers flexible licences

How publishers should use analytics to support subscriber renewal discussions

Stats on how research is used, customer behaviour and content popularity help justify renewal fees.

It is no longer enough for a sales team to go into subscriber renewal discussions simply hoping the client will sign for another year and accept a reasonable increase in fees.

The technology a publisher of high-value information uses to supply content and interact with subscribers should provide a wealth of information that enables them to demonstrate the value it provides to their customers.

Show the value of your content

Publishers need to be able to demonstrate the value they provide. This can mean more than simply ensuring a renewal, it can turn the conversation from ‘please buy us again’ to ‘this is the value, this is how to serve your customers better, this is what we need to do next year’.

Change the approach from a sales pitch to a conversation about a developing relationship. Outline a roadmap for future licencing agreements tailored to the specific needs of the client and move towards a lasting and valuable partnership for each party.

Renewals become an issue for publishers if the content is no longer deemed to provide a good return on the cost.

Use data as evidence

Edify Digital Media, a London-based publisher of leather market information, uses content usage data to understand what their customers like and develop upselling campaigns. Edify’s co-founder Maria Wallace elaborates; “As publishers, user analytics are valuable as they provide information showing what content is of most interest – so we can produce more – and warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities”.

Underplay the renewal and build in reliance

The ideal situation is for the renewal process to become a predictable administrative task. For example, within the SaaS sector where there is baked-in reliance on the service, renewals are often not a problem. Renewals become an issue for publishers if the content is no longer deemed to provide a good return on the cost.

“As publishers, user analytics are valuable as they provide information showing what content is of most interest – so we can produce more – and warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities”.

Maria Wallace

Co-Founder, Edify

If an account manager can make use of dashboards and alerts to quickly and easily stay up-to-speed on how content is being used, they don’t need to wait for the renewal.

If a new piece of content is published that has high relevance for a client, but lies outside their licence, a manager has a range of options to deepen the customer relationship. They might provide time-limited free access, offer a reduction, or even use this content as a way to cross-sell into a new area.

Whichever approach is taken, proactive help of this kind ensures the client maximises their subscription and is regularly reminded of the value the publisher provides.

See how the Publish Interactive platform can help your publishing company make renewal meetings procedural by viewing our analytics features, or book a product tour to be guided by an expert.

Read the customer story: How Edify Digital Media uses Publish Interactive’s analytics to refine its offering and drive sales leads

How an investor relations magazine boosted engagement and simplified renewals

With Publish Interactive, IR Magazine is now able to make its back catalogue available to subscribers, track content use and publish new benchmarking and insight content as interactive reports.

IR Media Group is a specialist information business serving investor relations professionals. It provides news, events and research for stock listed businesses globally through its IR Magazine brand.

Insight from IR Magazine is vital for its subscribers, yet prior to its adoption of Publish Interactive’s smart content management and publishing system, it had limited ways of actively engaging with users nor the ability to analyse how its research content was used.

New reports were created then distributed as PDFs, but this meant there were limited opportunities to analyse usage and customer engagement.

IR Magazine recognised the opportunity to add real value to its offering by helping clients make better use of its research and applying content tracking to understand usage and feed that back into creation, sales and marketing.

Understanding usage

With Publish Interactive, IR Magazine is now able to make its back catalogue available to subscribers, track content use and publish new benchmarking and insight content as interactive reports.

“We had been looking at ways to improve the service we offer subscribers. Our old system didn’t provide analytics, now we can see who is accessing our research reports,” says Stuart O’Hara, Head of Content Marketing, IR Magazine.

“We’ll publish around 15 new reports this year. With Publish Interactive, we can track, analyse usage, feedback to the editorial team and target products to the right people.

“If someone isn’t maximising their annual subscription, they’re not left in the cold for a year. We can help them use us more intuitively and, in doing so, make the renewal process easier.

“We can also upsell more easily now and the fact that we now have a great user experience provides the sales team with a USP to win new customers.”

Enhancing user experiences

Critical in IR Magazine’s bid to improve its offering was a need to boost engagement and enhance the user experience. Publish Interactive helped by providing intuitive workflow tools, high quality search and interactivity that allows users clip content, export to multiple formats and create bespoke reports.

“With Publish Interactive, we’re far more engaging. Content is in a single destination, search and navigation are simple and we have added features like ‘Ask the Editor’, where users can fire questions at us. That functionality wasn’t possible when our output was just in PDF, ” adds Stuart.

 

Deepening engagement

Since establishing its new content portal, IR Magazine has developed plans to extend use of the platform to attract new business.

“The response from customers has been positive. They find the Publish Interactive-powered elements of our website easy to use and engaging, the next step is to deepen engagement further,” says Stuart.

That process will involve the introduction of user guides and deepening internal understanding of analytics to ensure content is created that meets users’ needs and to more closely track subscriber behaviour and respond accordingly.

“We want to use this new portal to help us gain as many new customers as possible and encourage our existing subscribers to make full use of the content available for them to access,” Stuart adds.

Tags

  • Analytics
  • Content Management
  • Subscription Renewals

Understanding what revenue risks subscription technology should mitigate

Publishers of high-value market intelligence need to ensure they have the technology building blocks in place to be deliver profitable subscription revenue.

Picture the scene: you run a research firm that emails PDFs to clients, even though this is fraught with opportunities for your report content to be used outside the agreed licence and doesn’t enable you to gather any feedback beyond registering to whom the report was originally sent.

You know your firm needs to move towards a subscription model where a technical solution is put in place to deliver content to clients – but even that is not without peril.

So, when weighing up introduction of a subscription technology, what possible future issues should it be able to mitigate?

Retained access

By far the biggest headache for publishers using a less advanced subscription system is around individuals leaving one job, but retaining access to a publisher’s content. This can endanger IP and damages revenues.

How does a publisher lessen the impact of this kind of behaviour?

Email and ID security

Smart subscription software can limit the impact of unlawful access by only accepting log-ins from company email addresses and insisting on a two-factor identification.

When an individual leaves one role, it’s highly likely they’ll be shut out of their old email account; therefore, when the time comes for them to update their log-in details, they won’t be able to access the automated email asking that prompts this change, and their old log-in will become obsolete.

What’s more, two-stage verification of this kind discourages subscribers from sharing log-ins widely with friends and colleagues, as the need to regularly re-verify becomes burdensome.

Mass downloading

The other nightmare scenario is that a subscriber downloads your entire portfolio and then fails to renew their subscription.

There are several ways a smart publishing system can help to alleviate this problem. The first is around access rights; if a subscription simply buys a client unrestricted access to a publisher’s entire portfolio (so-called ‘all-you-can-eat subscriptions’) there is little in the way to discourage this kind of behaviour.

A smart system isn’t going to provide all-you-can-eat access to more than a handful of ‘power’ subscribers. It’s therefore unlikely that the opportunity will exist for a single person to download every piece of content. It’s also a significant deterrent that any information taken in a mass download would have repeated and regular use of the individual account user’s personal details across every piece of content.

An even more significant deterrent to mass downloading is management of the content. Any individual with access to an entire portfolio would also have access to the inbuilt workflow tools needed to search, edit, adapt, and make sense of all that information. A mass downloaded would also mean abandoning this suite of tools. Making sense of such a huge volume of content without these tools would be thankless, unrewarding, and an almost impossibly time-consuming task.

Customer behaviour, renewals, and engagement

Of course, using a smart publishing system can help mitigate a lot of the difficulty around mass downloads as the content usage of individual account holders is monitored in real time. Unusual behaviour can trigger alerts enabling the publisher to intervene.

Related difficulties around managing grace periods, blocking individual access, and dealing with expired subscriptions can also be dealt with through a system that feeds back rich account information to the publisher.

With a system that flags an individual’s poor or limited use of content, non-engagement, and upcoming renewals, the risk of non-renewal can be managed out of the client base through good quality customer service.

Individuals who aren’t making the most of their subscription can be given help by the publisher to maximise its value; this could be as simple as providing tutorials around use of workflow tools, or offers of content that’s more appropriate to their needs.

Whatever the issue for the customer, good quality behavioural information and a system of alerts can help the publisher enact a solution before the situation turns critical and a valuable source of revenue is lost.

Tags

  • Management
  • Subscription Renewals
  • Technology