In an interview with industry influencer InPublishing, Econsultancy’s Managing Partner, Ruth Mortimer reveals how Econsultancy, Centaur Media’s largest business unit accounting for 12% of company revenue, is redefining successful paid-content strategy.

Adding value

“Econsultancy is a business built on content for which people want to pay and to which people attribute value as it helps them do their job. It has a demonstrably value-driven way of looking at content, and I like that,” Ruth Mortimer says. “When people think of the publishing sector these days, they tend to think of it as being all about media and stories and that, as such, it’s about being interesting. But Econsultancy marries interesting with useful, and that’s what we need to be, a need-to-have not a might-like.”

Econsultancy is a global digital platform with offices in Singapore and New York (as well as London), creating and distributing information and insight from original research to 300,000 registered users and 15,000 paid subscribers. And traffic is growing – in May 2018, it generated 600,000+ monthly uniques.

“Our blog on Econsultancy is an enormously important piece of our marketing – it’s our shop window and available to all, it gets people excited about what we do”. Mortimer observes.

Econsultancy is also a trainer, with training offered through its platform and live components: public training academies anyone can sign up to from best practice to search; round tables; networking; subscriber events, and bespoke training for individual businesses.

Solving problems

But above all, Econsultancy is a problem-solver – deriving a growing proportion of revenue through its own particular take on ‘paid-content’: a mix of information and insight through the digital platform and live events; original research; general and bespoke training; and tailored commercial packages that support Centaur’s core customer ambition to Advise, Inform and Connect.

For example, for one client, Econsultancy created an event run by Mortimer combined with a sponsored session at the Festival of Marketing, a piece of sponsored research, and a partnership to get Marketing Week’s Mini MBA (a CPD-accredited course for marketers to develop their skill, designed and taught to mirror MBA core marketing courses at leading business schools) out to company customers.

“Our approach to product development is to ask: ‘how can we use this solution be help other clients?’”

Tailoring the content

One of the priorities for Mortimer and her co-Managing Partner Richard Robinson, has been to strengthen content and the capability teams.

“A big challenge is the great variety of customers we have,” Mortimer observes. “This is an enormous asset but, in terms of creating content, it is quite difficult. A chief marketing officer, for example, who wants to understand search will require different content to a graduate who has just joined a search engine optimisation team. Both are beginners in their own way but need an entirely different approach.”

Another priority has been product development, with Mortimer overseeing the launch of a new platform for Econsultancy’s digital offering which adds more practical tools to the information and knowledge mix.

Set to launch later this year, Centaur’s centralised digital development team has worked with NPD colleagues in Econsultancy’s team alongside marketing, legal and financial – ensuring cross-fertilisation of ideas and collaboration cross-portfolio. A further priority has been people, Mortimer adds.

“Richard and I have been i looking at our strategy and outlining that strategy for our team. We’ve set up an internal group in charge of Econsultancy culture –they are younger than me, hipper and more interesting,” she says. “We want honest feedback because whatever transformation you want for your business, it will always start with people.”

“B2C is great at telling stories and having emotional appeal and both are just as relevant in B2B.”

Looking ahead at how publishing is changing, Mortimer sees a number of lessons yet to be learned

“Niche media is going to be important, but without the same scale. We will see an increasingly dispersed publishing industry which is neither good or bad, just different,” she believes.

B2C still has lessons to learn from B2B about how niche content adds true value when it’s hard to get that information in that depth from anyone else. Meanwhile, B2B can learn from B2C the importance of focus on customers and people – and that those people are not always driven by rational impulses.

“The lesson here is that B2C is great at telling stories and having emotional appeal and both are just as relevant in B2B.”

To read the full interview, please click here:

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