B2B Media Unite! Arizent on contextual advertising, first-party data, and the importance of publishers in the post-cookie world

Arizent, formerly known as SourceMedia, is a US B2B behemoth on the media scene, with brands like American Banker and Accounting Today to its name. As the industry pendulum swings back towards contextual advertising environments in the light of the looming Cookiepocalypse, we caught up with them to find out how one of the most professional publishers in the first-party data space is going about its business today… 

“Arizent is a business information company, with brands serving seven distinct communities of highly-engaged financial and professional services leaders,” says Josh Rucci, Chief Commercial Officer for Arizent.  

“By exploring the most current and critical ideas shaping the industries Arizent serves – from technological innovation, to regulatory developments, to diversity and inclusion – the company has cultivated a highly engaged audience through digital platforms and live events. My job is to look after our marketing services, subscriptions, and research teams, having previously held global roles at Dow Jones, Bloomberg, and Getty Images in both New York and London.”

One area of the industry that has longsince provided strong revenue opportunities is B2B, partly because it lends itself so well to specific targeting, community building, and outcomes. Today, when we look at publications like Forbes, and even the output of influencers on Instagram or the growing popularity of NFTs on Twitter, it’s clear that the ‘business’ niche has well and truly made its way into the mainstream, as the world turns further towards the digital, creative and knowledge economies.  

So just how far has the traditional B2B media play come since the ascent of digital, how much has it changed, and surely with the shift away from cookies and back towards first-party data solutions, it is set to gain even wider audiences over the coming years? 

“B2B Media, Unite! Back in the day, B2B companies aligned around mediums – print, live events, and perhaps with a skunkworks digital group to serve industry news such as product announcements and personnel moves. The promise to advertisers was brand affinity, against esoteric KPIs.”  

“Today, industry execs demand more than news. They seek deeper insights and ideas that will transform their work and careers, irrespective of medium. We aim to solve this through original research, deep journalism, and peer-to-peer access, which is valued by ROI-obsessed subscribers and marketers alike.  Internally, we mobilise and measure ourselves against each of our seven verticals, a novel approach that holds us to our mission of advancing communities through powerful content and meaningful connections.”

Those seven verticals include: banking, municipals, mortgage, wealth management, benefits, accounting, and insurance, which – while linked – provide effective content niches.

But when it comes to Arizent, it’s impossible to talk about the brand without mentioning American Banker, a longstanding industry staple, which – first published in 1836 – is today read by 5,000+ financial institutions. 

“The 800k+ community is senior – over 70% are Director-level and above – and we serve it across multiple platforms, though over 90% of consumption (and monetisation) is digital.” 

“American Banker is a truly premium brand,” Rucci tells us. “It serves the top global executives of banking and multinational audiences, particularly in areas like payments. The 800k+ community is senior – over 70% are Director-level and above – and we serve it across multiple platforms, though over 90% of consumption (and monetisation) is digital.” 

“It is an essential read for banking leaders, who are subscribers either as individuals or through enterprise firm level subscriptions. Our clients know that American Banker helps advance not only their organizations, but their people’s careers too.” 

The exec describes American Banker as an ‘essential tool’ for anyone navigating technology transformation, workforce management, regulatory compliance, and DEI, among other trends, and the company is on the cutting edge too, providing market-leading analysis on emerging trends like NFTs, international payment platforms, and the wider crypto industry.

Again, as the industry swings back towards more contextual and first-party data driven solutions, they can’t all be based on reader revenues. We would expect to see more traditional B2B advertising offerings too coming back into fashion, as publishers are placed in prime position to offer their partners close relationships with readers. 

For American Banker in particular, this is likely to be good news. 

“Marketers value American Banker for brand campaigns and also for lead-gen,” says Rucci. “We facilitate these through advising and delivering compelling thought leadership for top technology, consulting, and financial services firms.”

“We’re also growing the brand across numerous types of digital advertising, research, and enterprise subscriptions, and are thrilled to welcome the community back to live events in 2022, having just completed our Payments Forum conference and planning for the Digital Banking, Small Business Banking, and Most Powerful Women in Banking conferences later this year.”

Finally, looking at the industry more broadly (and perhaps with his commercial cap on for us!) how does Rucci see the next two years and the fallout from the Cookiepocalypse playing out in terms of revenue shifts?   

“Consumers are getting more discerning on their subscriptions, which is understandable coming out of the pandemic. We work to solve this by providing truly deep levels of insight and engagement within each community. For example, we launched a ‘VIP’ offering for our enterprise customers earlier this year, offering event access, unique experiences, and custom research to our top corporate subscribers. We think this will be a game-changer for companies who value the insights, peer-to-peer networking, and benchmarking studies we serve to each community.”

“On the marketing services side, the two big priorities we hear are tailoring campaigns via first-party data and delivering differentiated thought leadership. We think we are well-positioned on both, especially from what we learned and optimized from user patterns over the past two years. We’re particularly keen to leverage this learning to deliver compelling content and unique event experiences for our marketers in 2022.” 

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