Audience Engagement Guest Columns
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Opinion: Our three sales takeaways from the PPA Independent Publisher Conference

Following a quick walk along a sunny, if chilly Southbank, Flume arrived at the Hilton London Bankside Hotel to attend the 2018 Independent Publisher Conference. The conference aimed to explore how niche publishers can continue to succeed in today’s challenging climate and consisted of round table sessions and talks from the likes of The Drum, Dennis and The Lawyer.

The speakers covered a lot of ground across a wide range of topics including new business models, how to build subscriptions and how to find and retain talent. However, at Flume we’re particularly interested in all things sales so here are our top three ‘sales’ takeaways:

1.    Print = trust

This came up a number of times. Juan Senor, author of the ‘FIPP Innovation Report’ described how fake news and attacks on the media have had a positive effect on subscription levels for some brands- the so-called ‘Trumpbump’. Could fake news actually save journalism?

It was also interesting to see how two of the world’s biggest digital players have turned to print in an effort to re-build trust with their users. Facebook famously poured money into print post-Cambridge Analytica, and they’ve also just launched their magazine ‘Grow’. Apparently Youtube are also about to launch a magazine.

This is all good for sales people who want to sell print as part of campaigns. The message is clear: brand connection is vital, trust helps build brand connection and print builds trust. Hell, even the world’s biggest digital brands are doing it!

2.    The way that marketers buy has changed

Rebecca Allen, Global Head of Branded Content at The Drum started her talk with a quick promotional video. It was great to see and hear all about the cool stuff that their creative team are doing. We loved their ‘CMO swaps’ where CMO’s from large and small brands get a chance to swap jobs for a week, the ‘Drum drummers’ and pulling pints at the Drum Arms – all good stuff. However, for Flume, it was their insight into how marketers buy that really resonated. There are now 6.8 buyers involved in every B2B buying decision and that’s changed the overall look of the buying process. This has transformed what works in sales today. Click here to learn more.

3.    Data alone isn’t enough. You need data + narrative

Catrin Griffiths Editor at The Lawyer delivered the morning’s keynote. There was lots of great content around innovation but it was this insight about the importance of ‘data + narrative’ that we really liked. There is a very clear application for sales. Salespeople tend to bombard buyers with audience data and it just doesn’t work. Data is dry and rational, narrative is rich and emotional.  Buyers forget data but they remember narrative. Data + narrative = buyer engagement. 

Paul Cruise, Lead Trainer & Coach of Flume Training  @Flumetraining