Growing the Research-for-Profit Revenue Stream

By John Milne

Revenue diversification has been top-of-mind in b2b publishing circles for a number of years. Events, custom publishing and online offerings have been cultivated as alternatives to the industry-wide dependence on print

John Milne

advertising—as well as innovative means of engaging and delivering audiences.

At Rogers Publishing Limited in Toronto, the Business & Professional Publishing Group has been nurturing a fourth revenue stream over the past six years: research. Rogers is Canada’s largest publisher of business and consumer magazines in both of the country’s official languages.

The seeds of the business were planted in the mid-1990s, when discussions began with a pharmaceutical industry client around the importance of demonstrating thought leadership and sharing customer insights in order to develop new ones. Eighteen months of planning led to a project that has been—and continues to be—conducted annually.

As the initial project began to grow with each deployment, thoughts turned to replicating the success. After all, if one organization was prepared to invest in the high six figures for this type of branding, wouldn’t others?

In 2004, a new research sales/project manager position was created. Today, that individual holds a senior director’s position and is responsible for a department that consists of three full-time sales staff and six project managers. Last year, the group did more than 100 projects and generated revenues in excess of $2.5 million, with a 40%-plus margin.

With this growth has come a new level of client engagement. Research projects have been successfully executed in each of the verticals served by the Rogers Business & Professional Publishing Group: Marketing/Communications; Travel Planning; Industrial; Agricultural; Healthcare; and Financial Services. The research findings are communicated to the respective audiences through magazine pages; microsites; e-newsletters; and conferences.

This is an excerpt from a min’s b2b column byJohn Milne, SVP, business and professional publishing, Rogers Publishing. See the complete premium story.


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