Business-to-business information companies are scrambling to expand their revenue mix and reduce their vulnerability of being overly dependent on any one revenue stream. But when everyone has an events business, a marketing services business and fledgling paid content and data business, is recurring revenue emerging as the real king of valuations?
Striking the balance of revenue mix and recurring revenue is the topic of a kick-off Power Panel at the upcoming Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), led by Hanley Wood CEO Peter Goldstone (pictured) and featuring SourceMedia CEO Gemma Postlethwaite, EnsembleIQ CEO David Shanker and Brief Media CEO Elizabeth Green.
“It’s not an either-or question,” Goldstone told Connectiv. “It’s really a symbiotic relationship between the two that’s about the opportunity to create products that have high renewal rates because we’re tapping into a deeper relationship that gets us into the customer's workflow.”
Hanley Wood’s platform today spans data, advertising and marketing services, media, business intelligence, events, lead gen and education. “We lead with data, connect with media and activate with marketing services,” said Goldstone.
Historically, Hanley Wood saw growth evenly split between acquisitions and organic initiatives. “But with the valuations the way they are on acquisitions now, we realized have to ramp up the organic side,” said Goldstone.
As a “data-first” company, Goldstone says Hanley Wood’s most significant new initiative is the expansion of its data-as-a-service offering, DataScale, which in spring 2018 began offering a tech platform around the supply and demand data sets of Hanley Wood’s Metro Study data business which can be aligned with a customer’s workflow.
Other new Hanley Wood initiatives include,
- MEET: A productized corporate event platform through which Hanley Wood creates custom events for clients. “Our events business is growing at double digits and custom events account for half of that growth,” said Goldstone.
- AccountINTEL: An automated account-based marketing tool that debuted in April. Working with its advertisers, Hanley Wood pairs target profiles with first and third-party data sources to create custom audience segments. “We own the data and we can identify who the players are,” said Goldstone. “It’s more than just looking at behavior propensity based on content consumption (which is something we still do). This allows us to get the right message to the right people at the right time.”
- GO!: A mobile platform that offers personalized news and updates.
- Native Projects: An extension of Hanley Wood’s native advertising platform, Native Intel, that allows product manufacturers to highlight how industry professionals are using their products and services.
- Fusion: Thought leadership sponsored content. “As ad pricing becoming more of a commodity, we are building high value content around sponsorships,” said Goldstone.
- Hanley Wood University 2.0: A CEU-based distance learning platform that allows for inclusion of HW education courses as well as management of external coursework. “This is a great way to create engagement and recurring revenue,” said Goldstone. “It’s currently offered for commercial constructional and we will be launching for residential side as well.”
Media and advertising still play a key role but as part of multi-tiered offering that more completely serves the customer. “In the past, the media business has said we have deep relationships but really it was driven by episodic payments,” said Goldstone. “That doesn’t mean you have to get away from transactional payments like media, but the real value is in becoming an essential part of the customer’s workflow.”