Enterprise Marketing and Paid-For Content

14 10 2009

Paid Content

There is an interesting debate being published by McKinsey titled; “Will People Pay for Online Content?

Why would anybody in enterprise marketing really care about this? It’s important to you for several key reasons. Attempts by the media companies to charge for content will limit their ability to help you to spread your message about your company, product or service.

In particular, watch out for:

  • Pay Walls. This is simply requiring people to pay for content. Perhaps good for the media companies, but it will sharply limit their audience, particularly when there are quality free alternatives available.
  • Ability to Share. Many attempts charge for content also limit or eliminate the ability for users to share the content. Forget about viral marketing in this context.

The big three in paid-for content according to the McKinsey article are the Financial Times, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. You can easily see how they do it:

  • Unique content
  • Very necessary content
  • No low-cost alternative readily available
  • A relatively price-insensitive audience

What does this mean for marketing and media plans? We all want to see a healthy and robust media industry, but schemes to limit information access and share-ability mean less reach for those media outlets. Unless these companies are targeted exactly at your target customer base, you can most likely get bigger bang for your medial effort/money by targeting media channels without these constraints.

In selecting the media channels to focus your marketing effort on you need consider first how well they reach your target audience but also;

  • How easily their news can be shared
  • What forums it can be shared on
  • How easy readers of their news can comment on it

Also, look at where your target customers get their trusted sources of information. Most enterprise buyers trust media in the following order:

See Is Social Media Replacing Traditional Media in the Public Trust?

1. Trusted industry peers

2. Vendor Web sites

3. Other Industry Experts

4. Blogs (from people in the industry)

5. Press

6. Analysts

In many cases, attempts by the media to charge for content will make them less attractive to enterprise marketing professionals as an outlet for messaging.

We have left the age where people go find the news.  We are now in the age where the news finds us.  Media companies that seek to build a business model by walling off information and trying to corral bits, are missing the boat.

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