Member profile: BizBash aims to grow revenue with product development, sponsorships
Feb. 20, 2013 -- During a time when many publishers would be happy to break even or make a slight profit, BizBash CEO David Adler is aiming to make more money than ever before. To do that, he says, the company is throwing away the old ideals of advertising (print pages, banners, etc.) and giving more focus to partnership for split revenues and sponsorship dollars.
“Advertising is changing dramatically every day, so you have to figure out new ways of creating revenues,” said Adler. “Basically, we are selling access to our audience, but we are selling access in a different way.”
This year, the publisher, which covers the event industry, announced two deals that is fitting this strategy. In January, BizBash announced a partnership with online event registration and ticketing company EventBrite to find the most “glass breaking, disruptive best practices” for events via a yearlong program of shows. This month, the company announced a collaboration with instant courier Zipments for last-minute physical invitations to New York Fashion Week. The deals join other BizBash initiatives, such as developing surveys where the company gets paid by the lead and creating performance indicators, that break the box of traditional ways of gaining media revenue.
“It’s all about creativity; it’s not about transactions anymore.,” said Adler. “This creates an ongoing experience that’s good for both sides.”
Product development is an area BizBash plans to focus on in 2013, with the Zipments deal the first in a string of ideas and initiatives (Adler calls it “creating an atmosphere for e-commerce"). As part of the Zipments partnership, the two companies guaranteed New York Fashion Week invites would be hand-delivered to VIP attendees in under an hour, for $8 an invite. The service was made public only three days before NYFW’s kick-off as the service was for last-minute calls. The idea might sound risky, but it was developed through research.
“We found out that there’s a great need, through surveys, for people to send face-to-face last-minute invitations,” said Adler. “While everyone is doing electronic invitations, their super VIPs want hand-delivered ones because it gives you the most impact. You put it through the mail, they might not get it. So we came up with a specific product just for [Zipments] that would get people to know who they are in the event industry. Even if they don’t use the company for the service, it shows that they are dealing with the deeper needs of the industry.”
Adler says the partnership also gives BizBash “unlimited revenue,” meaning the company gets part of the proceeds as well as sponsorship. He believes that not only is partnering for products a great way to bring in more dollars, it can strengthen client relationships.
“Our interests are totally shared,” he said. “We are both on the same page. I’m not trying to sell him advertising. I’m trying to get him more business. I’m not interested on selling more ad space. I’m interested in bringing in more revenue so I can get a percentage.”
Digital goals for 2013
BizBash's website BizBash.com had its best year in online growth during last year’s fourth quarter. According to the company, page views increased 20.5 percent and average visit duration grew 8.5 percent. The company hopes to continue its digital growth by focusing on how it can help its readers’ workflow. A part of that aim is to work on its directories and eventually have Netflix-like products that can suggest pretty accurately who you should be working with based on prior habits.
“In every b-to-b magazine, you live in the world of directories: that’s the main clients or vendors,” said Adler. “What we want to do is add ‘predictability.’ It’s taking a directory and putting it on steroids. The whole idea with media now is that you want to be a predictor instead of a reactor. We want to be able to tell the client that this guy is a good prospect for you, and we’re predicting that he will be a good prospect for you.”
In 2007, the company bought Masterplanner, which was founded as a monthly publication that listed upcoming events, but now has evolved into a daily updated guide of shows opening in the next year. Adler says the service is used as a conflict resolution calendar, and BizBash can use the guide to suggest vendors to planners based on prior decisions, geolocation and event type. The company hopes to take it the next level this year.
To grow revenue, BizBash finds an underserved need, sometimes targeting a subniche of a niche (for instance, event planners only for Fashion Week), known as fractal marketing, and then seeks out the right partner for help in development. With collaboration, says Adler, you aren’t bound by advertising that is bought and sold; instead, parties will collaborate to get revenue on both sides. Additionally, the client will have the opportunity to gain leads, a company like BizBash can lift its standing in the market and both sides will get a spotlight.
"We’re doing this on a case-by-case basis,” said Adler. “We are choosing the products that we think we can sell, and we can get a bigger upside. We are going to give access to our audience in any way that makes sense, and the more creative the better.”
By Elizabeth A. Reid
Photo credit, with thanks: Hollywood on the Potomac