Publishing Excellence Awards
Best Diversification of Commercial Strategy, Sponsored by Google
Small Digital Publisher of the Year
COVID was a wrecking-ball to B2B Marketing’s events portfolio, which made up 50% of their media business. It forced them to write-down delegate ticket revenues, though sponsorship held its own. They revisited their business model to understand how they could re-invent and how to better support their customers. Propolis™ was born, a digital advisory platform. By the end of 2021, they had covered the delegate ticket losses will producing new recurring subscription revenues. It revolutionised their business and their relationship with customers.
In consultation with their CMO customers during early COVID, the team uncovered the immediate pain-points. Creating and defending a well-informed and motivated marketing team – which can deliver remotely – was universal. Their customers were also seeking to avoid knee-jerk reactions to transient requests form their business during COVID. Therefore, speed accessing meaningful information and incorporating latest developments was paramount. The demand for real-time access to business agnostic advice was essential, with a platform where shared learning – supported by technical content and tools to de-risk future decisions – was essential.
Their final scope was to build a platform which gave them 24/7 access to experts and peers, supported by member generated tools and process maps. They did not have the full processes, skills, nor platform to supply this service – and to build it, it would require significant investment at the very time revenue lines were compromised.
Within six months, Propolis was in the market, a brand-new high value subscription service. They had changed their team structure, moving away from trade to a SaaS model. They created and trademarked a new brand; Propolis™ (Ancient Greek: Pro/First + Polis/Community).
Before COVID, B2B Marketing was a profitable and growing independent publisher, with 50% of revenues dependent on live events. Within the year, all event revenue shortfalls were replaced by new Propolis revenues, form 70 global customers and 1000+ members – which is still growing, and now renewing at 80%.
During COVID, they looked not to just sustain the business but to grow it through stable quality of earnings and a laser-focus on delivering what their market needed. They have come out stronger, with a healthier profit margin than pre-COVID.