How media companies are expanding into potentially lucrative business-to-business (B2B) subscriptions is the focus of a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA). B2B subscriptions represent the latest foray by news media companies as they diversify their reader revenue business models.
“The Growing Promise of B2B in Media’s Reader Revenue Model” looks at the differences in consumer vs. B2B subscription strategies, steps to selling B2B subscriptions, and how news media companies are catering their subscription offers to corporations.
“Selling to a consumer is about persuasion, which is not how you approach a business,” says INMA Researcher-in-Residence Greg Piechota, who heads up INMA’s Readers First Initiative. “You need to educate them about the product and what value it offers. You may need to be sort of an advisor, teaching them the best ways to use it.”
Paula Felps, Ideas Blog editor at INMA and lead author on the report, talked to Piechota, as well as B2B leads at Financial Times in the United Kingdom; Insider, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times in the United States; Schibsted in Norway and Sweden; and Nikkei in Japan.
Among the report’s takeaways:
- B2B subscription campaigns must be created to factor in the way businesses buy, which is vastly different from consumer purchases.
- Engagement-based pricing structures can be successful.
- The sales funnel for B2B customers differs dramatically from the business-to-consumer (B2C) funnel, so publishers must develop strategies for each one.
- Partnerships with the right companies can yield a win for the company, the publisher, and the reader — if structured properly.
- Tailoring subscriptions to the needs of the individual organisation is an effective way to encourage engagement and renewals.
- Using existing core strengths, whether they are for a local or international audience, can be a successful starting point.
- Positioning the subscription as an employee benefit — like a gym membership or insurance — can be a successful model.
- Webinars directed toward the business community is another way to attract new customers.
“The Growing Promise of B2B in Media’s Reader Revenue Model” is free to INMA members and available for purchase by non-members. For complete information and to download or purchase, click here.
“B2B has huge uncovered potential,” Siri Holstad Johannessen, head of sales and marketing at Schibsted, told INMA for the report.
Piechota agrees: “I think this is about diversifying and using the opportunities [publishers] have available to them. For general news publishers, there might not be any other way for them to scale than to go after bulk acquisitions.”
This is the fifth report INMA has released in 2021. See all INMA reports here.