This year’s Business Information Media Summit (BIMS) continued the tradition of a strong program including some of the information industry’s leading lights. The general sessions took on more of a ‘data’ feel than in past years. Keynoters and those participating in the advertising, marketing, content, and strategy tracks all got deep into the weeds on how to harness the power of data to better serve customers and move the needle on revenues.
Thomson Reuters’ head of innovation for their financial products, Debra Walton, stressed that understanding what makes data valuable to end-users is essential in a world where executives need to process and analyze more data than ever before. Building the tools to tap in to the insights buried in mountains of big data is where the action is in her markets. Thomson Reuters’ Tracer app sifts through the bottomless pit of real-time social media data to identify disruptive events of critical importance to global supply chain managers.
More typical b-to-b information firms showed they can play this game, too. Hanley-Wood’s CEO Peter Goldstone, for instance, described his massive transformation of the firm’s business model, one of the more audacious gambles to date on a data-driven future. The change sacrificed substantial advertising revenue streams to pursue a data-centered product strategy.
And, of course, everyone could not stop talking about the value of intent data that predicts exactly who will be buying what in the not-too-distant future. TrueInfluence is perhaps one of the best examples of a firm that found a creative solution to divining b-to-b buying intent by applying account-based-marketing principles to target marketing. They focus on finding enterprise-level intent indicators first and then delivering high-quality contact data for the folks who will eventually sign a contract, thus boosting response rates for big-ticket purchases.
Artificial intelligence even reared its head for the first time at BIMS. Sapient took a quick look at practical AI applications that can help publishers improve online information and marketing services, as well as previewing the day when AI will not just make a recommendation, but will be able to do what’s recommended.
Other intriguing glimpses into the near future of the information business included the proliferation of training services sold as memberships (Victoria Mellor, co-founder of Melcrum), the move to data cooperatives (Gordon Anderson, Content VP at InsideView), the growth of events as core products (Diane Arseneau, CEO of Zagora), explosive growth in the regulatory compliance service business (Chelsea Brookes, Product Manager, HCPro), and turning raw data into natural language recommendations (Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO of OnlyBoth).
My prediction for the next five years in the information business? Jump on to the digital data rollercoaster and hang on for dear life! There has never been a better time for the information business to transform the way the world works than right now. Put on your thinking caps and carve out your piece of the future today.