B2B publisher Prime Creative Media magazine titles
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How a B2B publisher has provided value to its audience and reaped the benefits five-fold

B2B publisher Prime Creative Media has published a report on Australian business sentiment across the industries that it serves, providing detailed and trusted information to its clients while gathering key insights about attitudes towards different types of B2B marketing.

B2B publisher Prime Creative Media has surveyed more than 2,000 business leaders across the 15 industries that it serves to capture business performance and confidence just as the COVID-19 restrictions began to lift in Australia.

Conducted between 28 May to 5 June 2020, the survey was held about 10 weeks after Australia went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus, focusing on Prime’s audience of over 490,000 readers across its 29 brands. 

Survey responses have been analysed and compiled into a report, titled The Path to Recovery: Australian industries post-COVID-19, which will be distributed to Prime’s audience – a cross-section of Australia’s economy that Prime estimates provided a value of $1.078 trillion leading up to the COVID-19 crisis (equivalent to approximately 72 per cent of Australia’s GDP in 2019). 

The 14-page report is a prime (pun intended) example of how B2B publishers can build trust and respond to their audience and clients’ needs during a difficult time. It provides key information around the current Australian business sentiment and the most trusted forms of marketing for B2B companies. 

This is invaluable information not only to Prime’s audience, but also to Prime – creating opportunities to publish quality, unique content in its magazines, and providing its sales team with highly relevant industry information and statistics to take to the market. 

Here, Prime’s CEO explains why Prime has produced the report, the results, and the value it provides Prime’s audience and the company itself. 

Listening to clients needs 

CEO John Murphy says “We pledged at the beginning of this crisis to contribute to our industries by acting as a positive voice, following our purpose of growing individuals, organisations, and industries. 

“With enough doom and gloom headlines in mainstream media, we have found a welcoming audience, eager to hear the stories of how our industries are adapting.

Murphy explains that the company has focused on strengthening relationships and looking after the wellbeing of its staff. 

“We have taken the same approach with our clients and partners in the industries we serve and have found we are having better conversations than we’ve had in the past.” 

“In connecting with our partners, what we heard was that companies now needed a realistic view of how the crisis has affected our industries, and what are the prospects and timeline for recovery.” 

The report process and key findings 

The same 13 questions were sent to Prime’s readership databases covering the following Australian sectors: 

  • Resources 
  • Coffee 
  • Cranes and lifting 
  • Food and beverage manufacturing 
  • Commercial road transportation 
  • Construction 
  • Eye care professionals 
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and gas 
  • Roads and infrastructure
  • Rail
  • Waste and resource recovery
  • Eduction 
  • Quarrying. 

Survey respondents were identified by position type (executive, operational personnel, mid-level management, etc.), and by company size. 

All respondent demographics and responses were analysed overall and in comparison with those in each industry. The results were then compiled into a report which coupled the analysis with general observations about the current business landscape in Australia. 

Overall, Prime found that “the results paint a relatively positive picture of an industrial landscape experiencing its first recession in almost three decades”. 

Key findings from the report are: 

  • Two-thirds of respondents reported a downturn, while almost 10 per cent noted an increase in business.
  • Only 19.5 per cent of respondents thought it would take more than 12 months for their business activity to return to previous levels, with 11.9 per cent expecting it to return in 1-3 months, 20.3 per cent in 3-6 months, and 35.6 per cent in 6-12 months. 
  • Business bounce-back results varied greatly by industry, with some of the most affected industries showing the most optimism.
  • Almost half of all businesses said that they were still looking to invest.

These results reflect those of Roy Morgan’s May Australian Business Confidence report, which found that Australian business confidence had increased by 16.7 per cent over the month, marking a significant recovery from its record low recorded in April at the peak of the COVID-19’s impact. 

Identifying the most trusted sources of B2B marketing 

Of most interest to B2B publishers, Prime’s report contains important information around its audiences’ attitudes to different types of marketing. 

The survey found that more than 50 per cent of companies were confident enough in the future to maintain their level of marketing, while 17 per cent increased their presence. Only 21.1 per cent of respondents reduced their level of marketing, while 9.4 per cent reported cutting their marketing spend altogether.

Interestingly, Prime found that among those who maintained or increased their marketing spend, there was a minimal correlation between spend and industry performance.

The report details the level of influence certain sources of information have on purchasing decisions, and the level of trust that respondents had in different types of media. 

Respondents level of trust in different types of industry media.
Respondents level of trust in different types of industry media. Source: The Path to Recovery: Australian industries post-COVID-19.

“At a time when mainstream media was under heightened attention and scrutiny, the survey found that, in the B2B space, sectors were generally trustworthy of industry media,” the report states. 

The amount of influence different types of industry media have on B2B purchasing decisions.
The amount of influence different types of industry media have on B2B purchasing decisions. Source: The Path to Recovery: Australian industries post-COVID-19.

Information given directly from suppliers was ranked as the most influential in purchasing decisions, followed closely by case studies and industry magazines. 

Social media was ranked as both the least influential, and least trustworthy, form of media.

“Printed media, in the form of trade magazines and journals, emerged a clear winner in terms of trustworthiness, with the highest rating by the highest margin. A full 57 per cent of respondents rated their trust of printed media at 4 or 5 (5 being the highest trust rating).

“Emailed newsletters and media websites closely followed at second and third respectively, but at a very close margin,” the report found. 

The survey also polled respondents on industry events, to help companies plan how to incorporate live events in their future marketing plans. 73 per cent of respondents said they were either likely or very likely to attend trade events in the future – a response that Prime said was fairly consistent across sectors. 

Providing value to audience, clients and B2B publisher

B2B publishers and media companies have an important role to play in rebuilding the business confidence within the sectors that they serve. 

COVID-19 has presented challenges to many industries, resulting in the first recession in many years. While Prime’s survey results indicate that many companies remain positive, it’s likely that clients will be more discerning about marketing spend and ROI. 

But B2B publishers are well-placed to provide the information needed to reassure their clients that the money they’re investing will get results – and Prime’s report is a good example of this. It provides Prime’s clients with valuable industry insights and data around the type of information the publisher’s audience consumes before making a purchasing decision. 

And the value to Prime is five-fold: 

  • It builds connection and trust with Prime’s brands;
  • It provides unique industry insights that can be repurposed in its magazines and websites;
  • It allows Prime to tailor its product offering to meet the needs of the industries it serves;
  • It provides Prime with a powerful selling tool, highlighting the positive attitude that its audience has toward its B2B products compared to other alternatives; and, 
  • It identifies the best company demographics for Prime’s sales team to contact at this time.  

Prime isn’t alone in surveying its audience to rebuild business confidence within the sectors that it serves. Special interest publisher Universal Media has 11 home renovation titles, and it moved quickly to survey 1,321 people with home projects to help its advertisers make informed business decisions. 

Having strong relationships with highly targeted audiences, niche publishers are in a unique position to organise and collect the right data to help their audience achieve the right business decisions and marketing strategies while building further trust and connection. 

With offices in both Melbourne and Sydney, Prime Creative Media’s team of 70+ people produces more than 27 mastheads, 80+ digital platforms, and dozens of industry events focusing on high-growth industries. 

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.

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