This week, Bobit Business Media, which serves verticals such as fleet and transportation and health and beauty, rebranded as “Bobit,” dropping the “Business Media” and adopting a new mantra, “Business Intelligently.”
According to the Bobit release, this is…
“…a new approach to spotlight its belief that business leaders want to make smarter decisions, and that making business intelligence actionable is where it begins. When decisions focused on what products to sell today or what solutions to build tomorrow are needed, Bobit streamlines access to timely data and shortens the path to the right choice. The company’s focus is on significantly investing in customer service, innovating new product offerings and solutions, and focusing on the expansion of its talent and expertise.”
With the name change, Bobit—which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year—also completes its shift from family business to a new management team led by CEO Paras Maniar, the former president, local, of Gannett.
“Bobit enables doing business more intelligently,” says Maniar. “Our deep expertise in content, events and data services allows industry professionals to make better decisions – whether that is deciding where to invest for the future or where to target marketing and sales efforts in the near-term. Business Intelligently is the lens through which Bobit measures every decision on products, people and processes.”
Bobit is coming to market with a host of new products including Bobit Connect, which gives users easy subscription control, streamlined access to premier content, device-to-device memory to pick up where they left off, and bookmarking across their full industry portfolio.
The company also offers its Buyer Intent Program, where clients get exclusive access to engagement with readers showing strong intent to buy; a Data Subscription service for its fleet and transportation vertical that includes data cleansing, identification of intent and market insight; and E-learnings, which serves Bobit’s health and beauty vertical.
From B2B Media to Business Intelligence
Bobit joins the trend of publishers dropping the term “media” in favor of “business intelligence” or “information services” to showcase their ability to offer a complete solution (including high margin, recurring revenue subscription data and research solutions that make the publisher part of the customer’s workflow) while distancing themselves from the perceived fickleness of digital advertising (which actually saw a renaissance over the last year) or complete dependence on events, the golden goose that finally laid the wrong kind of egg in 2020.
Examples of this abound, including GovExec (rebranded from Government Executive Media Group earlier this year), which last week announced its acquisition of market intelligence firm GovTribe, its fourth deal in three months, all of which were market data solutions.
Winsight saw its Technomic data business grow to about 30 percent of its overall revenue pre-pandemic and help fuel its media and events businesses, proving that done right, a data product can help lift all boats.
Similar moves among Bobit’s competitors showcase the need for change, such as Randall-Reilly, which pioneered the development of a data business out of a media business and newcomer FreightWaves, which bills itself as the “Bloomberg of freight” and saw 250 percent growth in both its marketing services and subscription data businesses during the pandemic.
In the health and beauty category, events behemoth Questex looks to create a “modern” information services model that leverages audience data to tie content and events closer together to create a year-round customer engagement framework
Don’t Forget What You Are
On paper, Bobit is making all the right moves in modernizing its approach. But even as data becomes the new darling of B2B media, companies need to, as Maniar notes, strike the right balance between content, events and data.
Maintaining that balance could be a fine line to walk as the industry continues to recruit new leaders from outside publishing, including Randall-Reilly, which named new CEO Matt Reilly (no relation to the company’s founders) earlier this year after senior roles at Accenture and data science companies; Winsight, which tapped Kurt Reisenberg, a 25-year-veteran of the business intelligence industry (including CEB and Gartner), to the then newly created position of president; and Hanley Wood|Meyers Research (now Zonda) which is led by Jeff Meyers, who was previously CEO of the research side.
(Ironically, data company Dodge Data and Analytics named media star Dan McCarthy as CEO last year.)
The B2B media and information industry is overdue for a modernized approach but it can’t lose sight of the roles content and media play in creating a community and then driving members of that community to the next stage of the business.
As Alex Ford, who founded digital publisher Praetorian Digital and oversaw its evolution into SaaS-based solutions provider and trainer for the first responder community, said, “The front end of the business is our set of digital media communities. Through them, we’ve created strong brands and channels allowing us to engage with our audience and generate opportunities to work directly with customers to solve the problems they are facing.”