In the events Power Panel at BIMS 2020, Orson Francescone, head of FT Live, spoke about how their events work to bring in new subscribers. “We had 160,000 ‘digital delegates’ [this year – attendees to their events], so suddenly those numbers are kind of blowing our model out of the water, in the sense that we are bringing in a huge funnel of new subscribers. That’s a very attractive proposition to someone who owns an integrated media platform like us.”
Francescone was just one of so many impressive and influential speakers at BIMS 2020. We’ll continue to offer coverage from those three days, though it will still be very worthwhile for you to purchase access when it shortly becomes available. In the meantime, here are seven content highlights, and some wine recommendations from our sommelier for your evenings.
1. Be intentional about feedback. “We are annually seeking how to hone those products” that our clients are using most, said Kevin Turpin, president of National Journal, in Friday’s keynote. “We are intentional about starting different feedback loops on what we’re doing, how do we change it and how do we hone existing products to make sure our renewal rates stay strong. And then creating products off existing products that can be upsells.”
2. Keep the bump. There has been massive consumption of B2B content in the last few months,” said David Fortino, SVP audience and product for NetLine. “The question is, ‘How do we keep that bump?’ You need to have content that resonates with your audience, of course.” But he went further, asking, ‘How can your content become a tool for you where you’re making it helpful to someone making a decision.’ You want it to solve a need.”
3. Amplify the benefits. Jim Sinkinson of FiredUp! Marketing echoed Fortino’s comments. “How do customers use your products to get results?” he asked. He wants you to focus on benefits. “Our customers buy benefits not features. A benefit is the promise to transform someone’s life for the better.” Think about what makes a difference in people’s lives.
4. Earn trust. “What will keep them and what else might they want [after a couple years of subscribing]?” data journalist and founder of The Plug, Sherrell Dorsey asked in her Thursday keynote. “People have to feel like they trust you. For us it wasn’t just about being loud. There are lots of larger publishers. For us it was about doing something deeper—taking our time to be intentional about the type of stories we need to be doing… and having a level of expertise that we can bring to the conversation.”
5. Be intentional about connections. “Where we’re shifting our thinking a bit is that content is still usually important and getting the best speakers is great, but… making sure that people really connect in this virtual environment is really critical,” said Chris Keating of Winsight on the events Power Panel. “Sitting home alone staring at the computer screen is not a very immersive experience. So for us putting together peer group meetings so you can spend time connecting with [colleagues], putting together meetings with exhibitors and attendees, not in a selling situation but in a sharing knowledge situation. That’s always been there, but for us that becomes more important. Just having speakers, virtual booths, hoping they’ll connect. I don’t think that is going to help anyone out.”
6. Build relationships now. “Building relationships with new prospects means that when we are able to do this in person, a hybrid format will bring those people into the fold as well,” said Dorian Sullivan, VP, audience development, National Association of Broadcasters. “We want to have a year-round relationship.” Added Merek Bigelow, executive editor, Loss Prevention Magazine: “You assume that same content will resonate. It really won’t. You have to look for ways to create that interactive conversation.”
7. Experiment. “If you think how early we are in the medium, the signs are very encouraging about [the virtual events] coming out of this,” said Microsoft’s Bob Bejan. But this is definitely a practice-makes-perfect affair. Asked about Microsoft’s partnership with CES on their upcoming huge show, Bejan said, “Everything we’re doing in CES is the sum total of every mistake we’ve made the last eight months.”
And finally… wine. Here are wine recommendations from our Wednesday Connections and Cocktails, courtesy of our professional sommelier Lydia Richards of Vino Concierge:
Banshee Sauvignon Blanc – California
Acrobat wine – Oregon
RdV Winery – Virginia
Aslina wine company – South Africa
Merry Edwards – California
Brazilian sparkling wines
Laura Hartwig wines – Chile
Kali Hart chardonnay – California
Talbot Vineyards – Carmel by the Sea, California.
Quinta Nova wines – Portugal
Graham’s Vintage Port
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port