Haymarket’s Energy and Environment Division publishes several authoritative B2B publications such as Windpower Monthly, focused on wind-energy development since 1985, World Architecture News, the largest provider of news and information to the global architectural community, and ENDS, the leading provider of environmental and sustainability intelligence for British and European businesses. As commercial manager of this division Tim Lomas also runs the key B2B brand Horticulture Week, a combination of market-leading news, technical intelligence and business insight for professionals in the UK’s horticultural industry.
Lomas’ focus on the commercial relationships between suppliers and audiences, places him in an ideal position to gauge how monetisation and reader experiences have evolved over the past couple of years within the B2B publishing environment.
He stresses that specialist publications within a single-sector funnel does not mean one-size-fits all. “Yes, there is a universal aim: to deliver high-value, addictive content which enables individuals to do their jobs better and business leaders to develop their organisations and industry. To deliver this there are similar themes, for instance, a real need for data and insight. However, the requirements differ significantly both within and between our specialist communities. Therefore the specific type, frequency and quantity is so varied that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ best practice would not work in meeting our individual readers needs.”
This, he says, requires specialist approaches not only with regards to content creation and content discovery, but also in exploring fresh opportunities. He references the reality that different brands reach audiences in different ways. It is no longer a question of which platform will do the best or how should you integrate print or digital into the overall mix. Rather, says Lomas, “the focus must be solely on the audience themselves and how, where and why they are consuming our media. We have avoided a digital-first mentality. There is too much diversity across our audience demographics. It is therefore essential to take a multi-platform approach in our content delivery.”
One of these platforms he describes as “really interesting”, is video. “We have seen on a brand such as Horticulture Week, that when we enhance our premium kit testing content by incorporating video reviews, many clients adopt this method to showcase their products. There is a natural transition and real appetite for them to take advantage of this platform to reach the wider industry. Similarly, on another brand such as Windpower Monthly, video is already a more established part of the mix, helping to both improve engagement with readers and increase revenues from clients.
Diverse revenue streams
Revenue streams in themselves have also evolved “enormously”. Lomas says over the past few years this transformation really assisted Haymarket Business Media to increase growth and diversification has played the lead role. “Whereas the business used to be heavily dependent on display and recruitment advertising, which have stagnated in recent years, we now gain around 60 per cent of revenues from higher-growth activities such as live events, subscriptions and data-driven advertising. This proportion of the business is rising rapidly every year and enabling us to accelerate overall growth. Print still has an important part to play within this mix, however, through this process of diversification the reliance on this revenue stream as the dominant force has abated, with print advertising now accounting for less than 25 per cent of our revenues.”
No-one in the publishing industry, even in the more conservative environment of B2B publishing, can turn their backs on social media or possible future digital developments, warns Lomas. “Social media has an important role within the B2B environment for content discovery. In the case of Horticulture Week at least one in four of our online visitors are following our brands on social media. That said, the majority of traffic is still sourced from more conventional routes, but we do see a steady growth in readers accessing content across brands from mobile devices. Therefore, we have worked hard to ensure, both from a content and advertiser perspective, that we are set up to meet the demands of the future.”