New Business (to Business) Models
Baskerville believes B-to-B publishers have been shortsighted in seeing new technology mainly as a means to improve distribution and marketing. "Strategically," he says, "the bigger shift that is emerging is using technology to generate the content itself. … By mashing up cutting-edge analytics with terabytes of unstructured data, it's often possible to create at relatively low cost the proprietary, valuable content that can help B-to-B decision-makers."
Baskerville is bullish about data. "Personally, I'm … excited by taking a publisher's domain expertise, combining it with structured data, and building a major revenue stream," he says. "That's the hottest area for us right now at HG Data. We're partnering with B-to-B publishers to produce augmented leads as an extension of the publisher's lead-gen programs."
In other words, sales leads generated via a publisher's own content can be "enhanced" by information from HG Data, allowing the publisher to charge a premium for it. This enhanced information can include the category of company connected to a lead, revenue levels, locations and hardware or software utilized—all valuable additions to what is already deemed a highly relevant contact.
HG Data customers are a "mixed bag" depending on the product, Baskerville says. "For a tablet app that contains a limited amount of genuinely new content, most likely the customer is the advertiser who sees the program as a natural extension of the existing advertising relationship," he says. "But if there's a major investment in new content, such as with a line extension containing a significant amount of custom information, then it's quite likely this will be a paid medium and the end-user will pay the bill."
B-to-B publishers should never assume users will pay for "nice to have" content. Strive for "must have" information, Baskerville says, citing Bloomberg as an example of a publisher business model built on paid subscriptions. "Make sure the product justifies the fees you'll need to extract from the marketplace."