London-based Informa acquired Penton last year for $1.56 billion, and Informa Engage, the merged company’s newest business, builds upon the former Penton Marketing Services..
Penton CMO-turned-Informa Engage president, Kate Spellman, tells Folio: that a major benefit of Informa’s acquisition of Penton has been the latter company’s international reach.
“The partnership with Informa as a whole was very exciting because they are a global company, and therefore we’re able to tap into many more brands, audiences and vertical knowledge,” she says. “It was a perfect marriage to really help elevate into a global company.”
She notes that Penton was formerly one of the largest North American B2B publishers, which allowed it to bring new capabilities to Informa that it did not have access to previously. Now at Informa Engage, the team is starting off by identifying areas to pilot in order to grow marketing services.
“A majority of our marketers are hungry to reach international markets and have a bigger scope, and we can now offer that, which we could not beforehand,” Spellman (pictured) tells Folio:. “Secondly, in verticals that were already in both groups, the brands and the scope of what we can offer is a lot bigger.”
Informa Engage is home to an audience of 30 million B2B professionals in 180 countries, such as producers of U.S. agricultural GDP, companies in the design-to-manufacturing process space, professionals in the U.S. wealth management community, aviation professionals, business and technology professionals, and communities in the natural products industry.
When thinking about how to best build upon Penton’s marketing services, Spellman adds that the company already had a deep database, content and vertical knowledge in niche markets. Thus, the next step was completing an analysis around the user, looking at the buyers’ journey and how users engage with products, in order to align their products with the journey and narrow them down to be individualized.
“We look at the marketer’s needs and align them,” says Spellman. “The goal really is not a one-touch, but rather a constant touch throughout the year, dependent on where the buyer is in the life cycle.”
Additionally, Spellman says that Informa has a huge global exhibitions group, which consists of transaction-oriented events in specialist communities, as well as a knowledge and networking division that specializes in conferences and thought leadership.
The company has also invested in new technology with its launch of Informa Engage, including the building of a data cube, which looks across all data and creates compelling, unified formats.
“Our focus is very much on our data and audience,” says Spellman. “With that said, we’re also launching new innovative products. I do not see investments stopping.”
This week, Informa Engage shared results of its business marketing trends survey, revealing an emphasis on increased investment in content marketing solutions. According to company research, “70 percent of marketers are leveraging content marketing in 2017 and 45 percent plan to increase content marketing investments in 2018.”
Acknowledging that a smooth transition of a merger this size is no easy task, Spellman says she is hopeful about the future of Informa Engage and its possibilities.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I think it’s a rare one,” she says. “We’re in a very fortunate place, and we have a huge amount to offer.”