Jon Bentley, head of digital commercial development at Incisive Media
, praises digital for bringing customers to publishers and warns that subscriptions models need time to develop.
Is digital your primary delivery method for the B2B market. Why?
It isn’t the primary delivery method – but in the mix of in print, in person and online it is the thread that runs through everything we do. The value and importance of relationships built at B2B events continues to grow and the legacy and value of print remains strong – but digital is the channel that brings customers to us and allows them to engage with us at the time of their choice (or at the time of their specific need) on the platform of their choice.
Digital media throws up more data every year. How do you prioritise it?
In two ways i) will it improve the services we offer our customers and change our behaviour for the better? ii) how does it deepen the understanding we have of our customers and add value for advertisers who are looking for new and exciting ways to win business in our sectors
What do you believe has been the biggest change in B2B media over the past 5 years?
The development of a robust, affordable, consistent but flexible technology stack. From authentication and entitlement, to productive CMS tools, to data collection and automated marketing and of course the proliferation of screens and devices – the array of services and new tech available could be paralysing. But the customer does not care – and should not care – about the internal challenges we face to deliver our content to the platform of their choice. By focusing on our customers we have managed to plot a course through a rapidly changing landscape.
B2B seems to have worked out how to charge for content better than B2C. Are their lessons for media owners in the consumer space?
The backbone of successful paid products are consistent renewal rates that take years to build. The FT is rightly praised for it’s high volume of paid subscribers, but it has built that audience over many years and is now in a superb position to invest for the future. Even the most compelling product offering requires time to grow a loyal subscriber base – and then profit comes from the low cost of acquisition for renewing readers. As The Times grows its audience and develops it’s product each year, fewer people will say it was a crazy idea.