New Opportunities & Revenue Streams

On Thursday 18th June, we invited Debbie Stenning to talk at a virtual ESco Connect round table session – the topic? New Opportunities and New Revenue Streams.

Debbie Stenning is a real diamond in the publishing world - with buckets of knowledge, she speaks with such enthusiasm and passion and is always a joy to listen to.

Here’s a summary of what Debbie had to say…

The best opportunities seem to come from times of adversity! 

We are entering a new age…heralding a new approach to the way in which we communicate and deliver to our customers…
  • It started back in the 60s where purchases were driven through personal contacts, with small independent shops knowing their customers by name. Sales came from knowing People and marketing was in its infancy
  • In the 70s we saw the growth of the high street. Department stores and chains led to Product and Brand Marketing
  • The 80s & 90s marketing became more data driven as the internet provided the opportunity to collect personal details with online orders, heralding an age of Internet Marketing, and as data collection opportunities grew, companies started to understand more about their customers motivations and were able to respond to them, providing the basis for Relationship Marketing
  • Since 2000, the explosion of social media and response data opened up Big Data Marketing, as companies were able to combine their customer knowledge with external links and technologies; and trigger messages to individuals in precise purchasing windows

Then in 2020 COVID happened…and people hunger for personal contact again.  We know our customers through data, but now we need to adapt our approach and show that we can relate on a personal level.  We need to be agile and respond quickly to change, using our data and our unique benefits to support new lifestyles; relate to our clients communities, and reinforce the personal relationship.

What are the main changes that we’ve seen in the past three months?
  • Growth in flexibility of the working day – more individuals are working from home and this is set to continue; leading to a more flexible management of home/work balance.  Individuals now have to balance work with home schooling; shopping at different hours; whilst observing social limitations
  • Buying patterns – these have changed from focus on quality and price, to focus on accessibility
  • Reallocation of personal leisure budget – with reduced opportunities to go out and to travel, individuals are investing in home entertainment and looking for new ways to fulfil their social need from their own home
  • There has been a rediscovery of a sense of community and wanting to bond together – as individuals are craving face to face social interaction, and are keen to support those in need
And we have seen corresponding changes online …
  • Growth in video meetings - in an article published on 2 April 2020 - Zoom reported that their active users had jumped from 10 million to over 200 million in three months (source: Reuters)
  • Online activities have taken a massive leap. Page views in March 2020 were up 25% year on year; and by April they were up 88%; whilst online orders were up 21% year on year in March and up 96% in April


Debbie went on to provide some examples of what some businesses had been doing with their marketing during this time:
  • Using their existing audience and offering an alternative service - from the Guardian’s dating site, to Cote Bistros Côte Brasserie's click and collect take away and butchery service
  • Creating community and demonstrating their value during a time of need, how they stepped up – First News with their iHub product; hitherto promoted to schools and adapted to support parents who were battling home schooling; and Farmers Weekly’s “Feed the Nation” campaign – supporting farmers with new distribution ideas, and providing inspiration on how they can support their local communities.
  • Feeding people’s hunger for their passion – Expedia’s top travel book recommendations to help their readers see the world while they can’t travel
Our clients shared what they have been doing during this time to support their readers:
  • Professional Beauty have been offering training online that can be completed from home whilst salons are closed
  • Anthem have been producing Women’s Running free podcast downloads where the editor chats with famous runners
  • Reform Magazine are offering their print mag at 3 issues for £1 on a trial sub
  • Opera Magazine have been sharing their archive with subscribers and have started quarterly subscriptions to encourage new customers to subscribe
Other ideas came from the floor:
  • How about selling sponsorship deals to advertisers for print and digital subscriptions – with banner saying “this comes to you with the compliments of…”
  • Brainstorming ideas with the team working on each title – invite new ideas from the team!
So what’s the summary of the lessons learned here?
  • Ensure your readers remember you for being there when they needed you during the pandemic:
    • Providing something they needed
    • Offering support
    • Offering community
    • Giving good accessibility
  • Create a community that your readers might be missing out on
  • Consider adapting your offering to monetise what your subscribers are really in need of right now
  • Increase your digital offering – consider offering an element for free
  • Get your subscribers involved – whether it be competitions, social media campaigns or volunteering
  • Start thinking about how you will retain potential new subscribers post lockdown

A massive thank you to Debbie for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. For more tips and support, visit Database Vision online or contact Debbie