New Business (to Business) Models
Fort Atkinson, Wis.-based Cygnus Business Media, a publisher in the aviation, building & construction, public safety, security and agriculture verticals, is also making hay with data. "If you've got the data and are able to focus the data on a sale and connect [it] with everything else [you offer] there are a whole series of ancillary products you can sell around that," notes Raymond L. Bianchi, vice president and group show director of Cygnus' Agriculture, Transportation & Technology group.
Events have become a major driver of business at Cygnus, and the company has refined its process for deciding how and when to build out new shows.
"We have a 12-step program," Bianchi says. "We look at our portfolio, the event market and a couple of different matrices to decide whether to build and launch a live event and what type of event it will be, using data but also using a set [development] program."
A recent event launched in the agriculture space, IDEAg Interactivity, focusing on how the Internet is transforming agriculture, was developed after market research zeroed in on the target audience's main concerns. Surveys were conducted and an advisory board convened. "As we go through each of these steps there are fail-safes and tests to test the efficacy of the idea," Bianchi says. "When you get to the point of launch you've already really run it through the gauntlet—so you don't discover six weeks later, 'I've really made a huge mistake here.'"
Some of this process is proprietary, but Bianchi says the fail-safes are built around close contact with different communities of interest within industries, including sponsors and "major attendee types" identified by the publisher representing new audiences. "People who might be interested on the periphery but who are not currently a customer of your magazine or website," he says. "You want to ask pointed questions to each of those communities and use those pointed questions to determine whether your concept is the right concept. It's kind of like laying on a table a series of Venn diagrams and then, where the communities come together and there's an overlap—there is your event."