Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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The start of fall brings with it a few sure bets. Football coverage will dominate ESPN. School zones will slow down our commutes. Falling leaves will result in more yardwork. Requests for media kits will start hitting our inboxes as companies plan their marketing for the following year.
We’re going to peel back the curtain of our B2B publishing company for a few hundred words, and we might make some agencies, marketers, and media sales reps cringe. Here it goes: we no longer produce media kits.
To some, that’s like saying our football team runs its offense without a quarterback. But media kits are relics of the old-school B2B publishing model. B2B sales and marketing has changed drastically since our company was founded nearly 40 years ago. The way we produce and deliver information to our readers has changed too. Media kits have been replaced by the data-driven, highly customized products, services, and content we produce for our increasingly sophisticated strategic partners.
Media kits used to be great when buying magazine ads, website banner ads, and eblasts were the only ways our strategic partners reached our audience. But our strategic partners are much more sophisticated now when it comes to who they want to reach, how they want to reach them, and what they want to reach them with. Vanity marketing metrics like banner ad impressions and email open rates have been replaced with a need for more advanced buyer engagement data.
We need to have an in-depth conversation about your goals before we start discussing content creation, account-based marketing, custom newsletters, engagement analytics, enterprise training, event sponsorship, market research, webinars, or brand awareness. Packing all of that in to a traditional “media kit” would result in dozens of pages with meaningless information that doesn’t speak to your growth goals.
That said, if you just want to determine the CPL of a banner ad campaign, we do have a one-pager explaining general audience demographics and a rate card. But keep in mind that demographic information isn’t nearly as important as engagement. Plus, this information is constantly changing – that’s how we keep our subscription lists clean and current. We remove readers who have not engaged in any content within the last 18 months, and we add new readers daily who are engaging in content. For example, one of our digital publications in the life sciences space had a newsletter circulation of 13,787 in one month earlier this year, which increased to 14,414, the following month, then decreased to 13,694 the month after that. The exact number – or even an average list size – isn’t what matters. Engagement with your content and with your brand is what really matters.
Determining engagement metrics – who among our readership fits your ideal target audience – cannot be explained by average circulation size. To determine potential engagement, we’ll start by pulling data to find prospects who are from the right company type/size and are the correct persona/title. From there, we’ll look at who has interacted with content related to your solutions/industry. Then we find out which readers are engaging with your competitors’ content if that’s applicable. And finally, we’ll filter interactions within a given time frame so you can see prospects who are actively engaged.
This reader engagement data is different for each company. Even your competitors won’t have precisely your same demographic, firmographic, and contextual filters. Since every ideal target audience is different, it doesn’t make sense for us to produce a media kit around a very general circulation. Think of it this way: your marketing dollars shouldn’t be wasted in the grey area of a general circulation – instead you should be actively reaching those gold-star target prospects.
Numbers, graphs, and pie charts in a media kit cannot explain reader engagement in a way that neatly fits on a spreadsheet used to compare media companies. This makes sense considering no two buyers’ journeys are the same. We’re not a one-size-fits-all publisher, and no two vendors have the same marketing strategy. That’s why we don’t have a one-size-fits-all media kit.
We realize it would be easier for agencies and B2B marketing teams if we continued to create media kits. Truthfully, it would be easier for us too if we didn’t have to customize a strategy for every one of our partners. But we want to treat our partners with the attention to detail you deserve. We strive to show our strategic partners real-world intent data and behavioral analytics about readers who are a fit for their products/services. The way we deliver intelligence about our readers can’t be explained in a few pages about our circulation size, services, and rate card.
The only way we can explain how we help is by customizing our response to media kit requests. To do this, we first have to understand your goals. And by “goals,” we’re not just talking about a marketing department’s goal to get as much as they can within their budget. We need to know specifics about the goals of your marketing team, product team, sales team, and executive team. We want to know your one-year, five-year, ten-year growth plans and your long-term exit strategy. Only then can we know what to suggest and customize for you.
So yes, you can expect a request for a media kit to be met with a long-winded response that will likely include follow-up questions and an invitation to chat with us. That’s because being successful in today’s B2B sales and marketing environment is more complicated than what can be explained in a simple PDF. But it’s a challenge we’re eager and willing to tackle with you.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
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Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.