Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog

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The Answer to the B2B Online Content Conundrum Is a Hybrid

B2B Digital content model
B2B Content Model

B2B Content Model

One way of of thinking about the new content model for B2B is to deploy a range of data to generate income in more than one way.  Our traditional strength – the delivery of news, remains a powerful audience grabber.  But as we have discussed, news is a commodity and must be delivered free, funded by an advertising model.  Because this, on its own is insufficient to support a reasonable economic model we must add a jobs board, available free to the user.

The next segment is the production of leads for suppliers.  Suppliers will pay for leads if the information and data about the lead is validated through a registration process.  Product information, product specifications and supplier white papers can all be offered to users from behind a registration wall.  These validated leads are enormously valuable to suppliers and can be sold for prices varying from £25 to £100 each lead.

Paid information is the next content segment.  This might be research data, research white papers, reader panel data any of which can be sold on a subscription or pay / view basis.

At the top of the heirarchy B2B media can offer applications and work flow tools on a licence basis.

Each of these four elements deserve a post in their own right, but if all four are deployed in a co-ordinated fashion then we have the makings of a sustainable and growable digital model.  The key to understading this, is not believing that the answer lies either in the information model or the ad sales model, but rather in a hybrid model which addresses each slice of the b2b content pyramid.



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March 23, 2009 - Posted by | business media strategy | , , , ,


  1. Great summary Neil. I agree that a hybrid approach is vital – and probably there are more ways to monetise the community (eg offline events/conferences/roundtables being an obvious example) which suit different publications.

    There are certainly other ways to validate and qualify leads for the lead gen approach too. We are big believers in the value of personalisation (the FT uses this well too) – with the effective personalization of content for each reader being powerful incentive to sign-in. This enables implicit data collection about the reader as well as questionnaire data (such as the articles they read most, subjects they request over time etc).

    Comment by Andrew | April 1, 2009

  2. Neil –

    I’ve long admired Hearst Business Media’s migration from primarily offerings from the bottom of your pyrimid (ad-based news) to data and work-flow tools and have always wondered why other B2B Pubs have been so slow to make the change? Good story from a fan over on this side of the Atlantic.


    Comment by Bruce | May 4, 2009

  3. […] Is it possible to consrtuct an advertsing model for the b2b web that pays the bills? While I think about that keep cracking on with those hybrid strategies. […]

    Pingback by Wringing our Hands about paid content and advertising « Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog | October 11, 2009

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