It’s no news that the Internet has changed business realities for media companies. While many have adapted to publishing innovatively in digital formats for consumers, some haven’t moved their revenue streams beyond delivering run-of-the-mill banner ads or e-blasts for advertisers. What’s more, media companies must address subscribers who are influenced by a more personalized experience – akin to what they see in their Facebook Newsfeed or after logging into Netflix – when engaging with media properties’ websites.
Since 1977, Access Intelligence has served as a business information company with a wide range of media properties (from PR News and Folio to Via Satellite and Aviation Today) and events (e.g., LeadsCon, EventTech, Experiential Marketing Summit) for a bevy of industries. Typical of most media companies, Access Intelligence has two primary audiences with differing needs: site visitors and event attendees who want relevant content and experiences worth coming back for, and advertisers who want well-targeted people to put their message in front of. James Capo, vice president of digital services and business development, has helped lead Access Intelligence further into digital business models by creating new revenue streams using the Lytics Customer Data Platform.
Unlike daily newspapers or consumer-media sites (that can keep looking for new subscribers out of millions of people), business-to-business media publishers have a more rarefied group of readers and subscribers. There are only so many aviation-equipment buyers or chief marketing officers who can subscribe to their sites and attend their tradeshows. Therefore, companies such as Access Intelligence must cherish each and every subscriber as both an audience member and a potential lead for an advertiser. Simply put, they must care about the lifetime value of each consumer.
Access Intelligence wanted both to overcome the challenges of personalizing experiences for subscribers and to deliver highly valuable leads to advertisers. Capo explained: “When we began looking into customer data platforms, we knew we could use the platforms to personalize emails, target online advertising and create more relevant content experiences for consumers (or, subscribers, in Access Intelligence’s case). However, as a business-to-business information company, we found we could push a customer data platform further. We wanted to expose the data we were collecting about the audience in order to deliver greater value to advertisers trying to reach these subscribers. We needed to become a valued partner for their marketing strategy not just another distribution platform.”
Access Intelligence looked at many of the personalization technologies and customer database tools on the market, and chose a customer data platform from Lytics. With Lytics, Access Intelligence was able to create more complete profiles of their audience members by combining millions of consumer database records from their web site, email programs and event attendance data. Using sophisticated data science, Lytics helped Access Intelligence merge identities to determine that, for example, what looked like two individuals on their site was actually one person using two different devices (one anonymously and one logged in).
Access Intelligence could then combine each of these profiles together to create very specific audience segments – e.g., decision-makers highly engaged in solar-power content – that could deliver leads for advertisers and personalization for subscribers.
For advertisers, Access Intelligence found they could charge a premium for (often small) groups of highly qualified leads, which they couldn’t do previously with one-to-many e-mail blasts to large groups of unqualified contacts.
“The light bulb really went off when we met with a large multinational aviation equipment manufacturer,” said Capo. “In the meeting, we took the client through the Lytics platform letting them ask questions about our audience and then built a targeted audience segment in real time – with the client. It allowed us to say, ‘Look, here are ten people from an airline that is a strategic account for you and have looked at articles about the equipment you’re hoping to sell them. And, now, we can target them with your specific message in multiple ways on multiple platforms.’ It also moved us from being seen as not just another media company but a firm that can actually help them strategically build their marketing plan.” In effect, Access Intelligence has been able to create high value, multi-platform marketing programs designed to reach only a small subset of the audience a client is trying to reach.
To personalize the marketing experience for these audience members, Access Intelligence took advantage of Lytics’ ability to integrate with multiple data sources including their email service provider and event databases. Access Intelligence is able to match their audience behaviors across sites and create targeted experiences.
For example, Access Intelligence can identify a reader who is engaged with PowerMag.com topics and is also browsing conference session tracks about similar topics on ElectricPower.com (Power Magazine’s annual event). The team can then engage this reader with a targeted advertiser message related to the event or invite the reader to attend a special “invite only” session the advertiser may be hosting. And if a person had opted out of email marketing, Access Intelligence could still automatically target them with online advertising in social media channels such as Facebook.
“When we have meetings with advertisers who are implementing sophisticated digital marketing or are interested in exploring those options, the reaction is always the same: They are incredibly impressed with our customer data platform and our ability to bring the right message to the right audience. They can see the individuals. ‘Here are the 300 people we want to talk to; do you have them?’ they ask. “’Yes, we have 80 percent of them and here they are – and these are the topics that they are most interested in,’” we say. “And they reply, ‘Wow, this is really powerful.’ It makes it real for them.”
“Lytics ultimately acts as an umbrella over all our media platforms allowing us to conduct and implement highly specialized marketing programs. It has helped us increase our professional service business 54 percent from 2014 to 2015,” said Capo.
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