In many respects, B2B marketing has trailed its B2C counterpart in digital evolution. MultiView set out to narrow that gap by offering specialty businesses low-waste opportunities for advertising their products and services.
"We started MultiView selling products, but now we’re selling solutions"
“We don't provide the advertiser a lot of scale,” MultiView CEO Andy Keith says. “But what we trade for scale is precision targeting, because these are companies that are very reliant on putting their message in front of an exact audience.”
MultiView accomplishes this targeting in large part through the second important pillar of its business model – partnering with industry and trade associations spanning just about any vertical you can think of. Similar to B2B marketing’s slow digital evolution, these membership organizations were relying on offline communications in an increasingly online world. So MultiView helped these associations develop digital communications vehicles that could be monetized by providing advertising opportunities to the businesses that need the association’s audience. The membership organizations get important non-dues revenue and the businesses get marketing opportunities they can’t find anywhere else. Both win.
“These two parts of the model have to be pretty equal,” Keith iterated. “Without the association partnerships, I don't have anything to offer the advertiser.”
In practice, the approach works something like this: Suppose you’re a specialty manufacturer, maybe one that makes posts for dental implants. That means your target market is extremely small and niche – not just dentists, but an even smaller subset that includes oral surgeons and periodontists. Reaching that specific audience presents a challenge.
MultiView helps overcome that challenge through its partnership with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), a membership organization comprised of almost every implant dentist across the United States. Through a host of digital communications options, such as weekly email newsletters and website retargeting, the implant manufacturer can consistently reach its exact target audience. And that consistency element is important, Keith notes, because of a common reality of B2B business – the lengthy sales cycles.To illustrate how sales cycles impact B2B marketing, Keith draws a comparison between a pizza chain and a manufacturer of MRI machines.
“If you’re a pizza restaurant, you can send out coupons good for 30 days to a particular zip code and measure how many of those get redeemed,” Keith says. “But if you’re selling MRI machines to orthopedic surgeons, those doctors and offices aren’t buying MRI machines every 30 days. They may not be buying every six months. It may be three years or five years. So, it's important that you continually have your brand in front of those orthopedic surgeons, right? So, when it is time to buy a new machine, you’re the brand they think of.”
MultiView started with simple online buyers guides. It was akin to an online catalog listing. If you were a plastics engineer selling injection molding machines or molding dies, your company could be listed under those specific categories within the guide.
Now we’re talking more about strategy and solutions to help them grow across all departments within their organization, all the way to recruiting
“Now we’re talking more about strategy and solutions to help them grow across all departments within their organization, all the way to recruiting,” Keith points out. “We started MultiView selling products, but now we’re selling solutions.”
As digital marketing has evolved, so has MultiView, utilizing first-party data and developing a robust line of offerings from video production to geomarketing toprogrammatic advertising and social media managed services. The company has also started to shine a focus on its own brand after having been content hidden behind the associations’ brands for so long.
To fully appreciate the MultiView model, it’s important to understand the different ways the associations benefit from these partnerships. These membership communities are at a critical point. Baby boomers are retiring and winding down their careers as millennials are taking over as the predominant generation in the workforce. Resonating with this younger generation has been a pain point for associations, and MultiView’s digital communications solutions have helped them address it through technology, branding and revenue generation.
“A lot of companies want to say, ‘Hey, what am I doing in my community? How am I making a difference?’” Keith says. “We pay out almost $15 million annually to nonprofits, which are these associations. We provide them non-dues revenue and we're bolstering their conference attendance, their membership and helping them with the strategy of reaching a younger demographic.”
MultiView delivers content to more than 6.5 million subscribers on a weekly basis – a total that Keith points out is greater than several national newspapers. Importantly, this content serves the dual purpose of helping its advertiser clients and its association partners. For example, the Oracle Applications & Technology Users Group (OATUG) joined forces with MultiView several years ago, developing an industry-relevant newsletter that generated more than $200,000 in gross ad sales in its first year, while at any given time providing as many as two dozen advertisers access to a highly coveted target market.
“Non-dues revenue has increased and feedback from members is positive, conveying the value they derive from the news content that is presented,” Cindy Force, Director of Marketing for OATUG said. “The partnership between OATUG and MultiView has been overwhelmingly positive and productive, both in terms of the content we’re providing to members and the additional revenue the organization is able to earn.”
Though MultiView itself is strictly focused on B2B, as part of The Stagwell Group it’s also fortunate enough to have a portfolio of sister companies that can help solve any digital marketing needs for any type of client.
“It's really nice to work with a holding company that doesn't compete with one another but rather complements one another,” Keith said. “It gives us great opportunity to scale the company for growth.”