INNOVATION IN B2B PUBLISHING MARKETS
The world in which B2B publishers operate is becoming ever more challenging as the internet and new technologies offer up the possibility of delivering cutting edge services to an increasingly demanding audience, and online-only players emerge to try to take advantage of these new markets. The Web 2.0 movement which describes today?s web activities signifies that the internet is a very different place today than it was five years ago, and publishers must take on old and new competitors in this online environment if they are going to survive.
Technology for implementing new and innovative services is becoming widely and cheaply available, yet it seems that many B2B publishers remain reliant on a web site driven by editorial values, with occasional value-added services. This is of course a generalisation, but the tools and offerings available for audiences such as academic researchers or financial analysts seem a world away from some of the offerings available from B2B trade journal publishers, and their online-only counterparts.
This suggests a real market opportunity for B2B publishers to invest in and experiment with these new technologies, and claim not only their traditional audiences, migrated online, but also the ?long tail? of these markets which was impossible to reach in a print environment.
The new innovations
This report looks at innovative activities by B2B publishers, and discusses how these can be monetised.
Opportunities and challenges
The report describes the range of opportunities and challenges faced by B2B publishers online. These include:
- Embedding content into workflow
- Introducing non-information services
- Community building and social networking
- Operating in a global market
- Serving advertisers? needs
- Tapping the Long Tail
- The power shift from publisher to end user
- Increasing competition
- Organisational issues
- Market consolidation
- Learning new skills
What do B2B publishers need to do to keep up, and stay ahead?
Change mindset and company culture
Many B2B publishers continue to struggle with legacy systems and cultures. Changing the corporate mindset from producing content in a print environment to delivering information services in a networked world is a difficult transition. To facilitate this, some publishers actively encourage their staff to use Web 2.0 services such as del.icio.us, flickr and MySpace, whether or not they have a business relevance, so as to gain an understanding of what these types of services can provide, and what today?s audience may be expecting.
Understand revenue generation online
One of the perennial challenges for online publishers has been the monetisation of valuable assets, be they content or tools. B2B publishers must have a real understanding of what users find valuable online. It may prove that content, while valuable in a print environment, has a lesser status online, is therefore more difficult to monetise, and needs to be viewed as a baseline offering around which other facilities can be provided.
Be prepared to experiment
Technology implementations today can be done relatively inexpensively, and part of the Web 2.0 mindset says that services need not be rolled out in their fully fledged state, but can be made available in beta for customer experimentation and further development.
The future of B2B online
The potential exists for B2B audiences to use and pay for valuable tools and information services online, but in most cases this potential has not yet been tapped effectively. Companies like GlobalSpec and Teleroute provide a vision of the real added value which online delivery can facilitate - B2B publishers must step up to the challenge if they are not to be overtaken by ?digital native? competitors.