“Life would be easier if we could tell what was coming,” said Christie-Miller, “but not everyone gets predictions right”. Quoting the CEO of UK-based Dixons Carphone, Christie-Miller said that average household currently has 12 ‘connected devices’. In two years, this number will rise to 72, which presents a huge opportunity for media businesses. “The world becoming more virtual, and whatever form customer services takes, it has to be excellent,” she continued.
Christie-Miller said that it’s key to have a deep understanding of the core purpose of your business. “That will keep us straight when challenges come our way,” she said. “Rediscovering EMAP’s core purpose has been the most important step in our journey of transformation.”
“We create fantastically helpful information and insight that we sell to our professional audience to help them do their job better. 150 years ago, we packaged that in the form of a print magazine. Today, we do that across digital, face-to-face and print.”
In her four years as CEO of the company, Christie-Miller has made it her mission to transform EMAP’s “advertising reliant print business” by having three obsessions:
“Our subscription volume was in decline for 25 years when I took over. It was absolutely crucial for me to galvanise our 500 people behind one goal – growing the number valuing and buying our content.” Christie-Miller said that today, subscriptions have grown six per cent since August 2012.
According to Christie-Miller, this was achieved by having a “great sales and marketing operation” and making sure that each platform the content is sold on are as “good as each other”.
In terms of renewals, companies renew at 90 per cent and individuals at 70 per cent. “Subscriptions are the heart of our business,” said Christie-Miller. “It’s where everything starts”.
Christie-Miller said this adds 10-20 per cent to the top line of the company. The ingredients for this are the right reward and recognition programme, having layer of sales leadership that is strong and is driving performance and an ever evolving customer-led range of products.
Having happy, engaged customers who are genuinely deriving real value from the products you’re serving them is key, said Christie-Miller.
“Great businesses have repeat customers,” she said. “When you have this, you have loyalty, people want to buy more and can help you build your next range of products that you can then sell back to them.”
One example of this taking place is EMAP’s Heath Service Journal Intelligence – a database of financial and demographic information for the UK health care industry, which was born out of industry need and which EMAP layered with “gold-dust” – reports and analysis created by the editorial team which pull the data together and make predictions about future strategies.
With a subscription to this product priced at £12,000 per year, how’s this working out for EMAP? “We’re smashing all of our own targets,” said Christie-Miller, and will be “£4m turnover business in three years”.
Another key area for EMAP is its events business – the biggest revenue driver for the company generating 40 per cent of all turnover. “We’ve been growing double-digit for last 10 years,” said Christie-Miller. “Digital innovation and new events will give us our next three years of growth.”
So what’s next for the company? As for product innovation, EMAP is at the forefront, and is planning to launch more in 2016 and 2017, according to Christie-Miller, so watch this space.
In conclusion, Christie-Miller said: “B2B media is intrinsically fabulous. Heritage of brands coupled with strong relationships with powerful people in powerful industries is very hard to replicate. If we stay true to our core purpose, we will continue to thrive.”
Story by Amy Duffin.
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