This year’s SIPA conference in Munich, which was titled ‚Business-Building Secrets for Specialized Information Publishers‘, was held from 6 to 8 April 2011. It attracted 114 participants and speakers from 13 countries to hear the latest on new technologies, viable (online) business models and marketing strategies in the international specialized information market. Countries like Egypt, South Africa, Australia and Poland were represented in addition to USA and the UK. The conference was organized for the third time by the Akademie der Deutschen Medien (Academy of the German Book Trade) in collaboration with the SIPA (Specialized Information Publishers Association) and VNR Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG (publishing house).
‚We have the information they need. We just have to help them find it.‘ This is how Matt Salt, Executive Director of SIPA, aptly summed up the changing role of specialized information providers. Today, a specialized publishing house is a solution provider and, according to Salt, it’s all about ‚lead generation‘ – i.e. generating addresses.
How to become an online multimedia powerhouse
In his paper Richard Londesborough, Managing Director of Business Monitor International UK, described how his publishing house had developed from a print media company to an online multimedia powerhouse: it was important, he said, to equip all products and services with ‚upgrade options‘, to speed up product development, and to respond to constructive criticism from customers and potential new customers. And digitized content frequently offered a chance to internationalize – especially in the direction of the emerging markets. He also advised the conference participants to ‚multi-format your products.‘ But how are these products found?
Ale Agostini, Managing Director of Bruce Clay Europe, gave the participants some tips on search-engine optimization: ‚Integrate videos and images into your own website, use Google’s Instant Preview of your search results, and therefore avoid flash on your welcome page. In order to integrate social media, integrate at least one like button and one share icon into your website’s welcome page.‘
Market your specialized information where the customer is
There was a lot of discussion on the strategies and methods used by publishers today to successfully market their content. ‚We need to be in all channels where our customers are,‘ urged Andrew Palmer, Director of E-commerce Marketing, Cabot Heritage Corporation, USA. In particular, he said, it was impossible to overestimate the importance of social media platforms: ‚If you’re not there, you do not exist‘. Annabel Koffmann of Fleet Street Publications, South Africa, stressed that the mobile channels were also becoming increasingly important in marketing specialized content, especially in South Africa and emerging markets. Taking into account the specifics of the South African market, she impressively showed how SMS campaigns, for example, can be used to extend the ranges of publishing portals.
SIPA Munich 2011 provided many ideas and options on how changes in the specialized information market can be harnessed for the future. At the end of the three days an elated presenter Andy McLaughlin declared: ‚There are really ways for us to go walking away from this conference and feeling quite energized.‘
Tweets of the conference are available on Twitter at #sipamuc, pictures on facebook:
Publishing Academy Munich or
For more information on the programme and the conference speakers, please click here.
SIPA Munich 2012 will take place March 28-30th, 2012