A maturity model for the journey to memberships for B2B publishers (Part 1)

In part 2 of this article we explore why there is resurgence of 'community' in B2B media and publishing businesses' propositions and business model.
A maturity model for the journey to memberships for B2B publishers (Part 1)

First, we want to propose the following model to show how B2B publishing businesses typically evolve their proposition as they move from just content to bring more of a sense of belonging and membership to their brands and business models.

B2B Media Model

As you can see there are five stages. These do not have to occur in a linear progression although it often happens in this order.

Almost all B2B publishers offer the 'Know' experience. As they move beyond being a mere 'B2B publisher ' to being a 'B2B media' business then stages 'Learn', 'Do' and 'Advise' typically appear.

For each stage there is a 'Mode' to describe the nature of the customer's interaction with the B2B publisher; an 'Experience' giving examples of what form the content, service or experience typically take; and a 'Feeling' articulating how this makes the customer feel. The stages thus break down as follows:


Mode: passive, one-way, consumption Experience: content, articles, news, information, lists, directories, case studies, webinars etc. Feeling: informed, up to date, current


Mode: engaged, developmental, interactive Experience: courses, training, mentoring, coaching, elearning, microlearning, workshops etc. Feeling: empowered, progressing


Mode: proactive, applied, focused Experience: tools, applications, workflow, tasks, notifications, alerts etc. Feeling: productive, efficient


Mode: solutions, customised, consultative Experience: consultancy, services, account management, customer success etc. Feeling: supported, expert, partner


Mode: social, connected, human, relationship building Experience: community, events, social media, networking, profiles etc. Feeling: connected, status, authority, respect, credibility, access, success

Note also that the end customer benefits tend to become more emotional, not just rationale, as this progression occurs.  The terminology used usually changes too with more transactional/anonymous descriptors like 'user' or 'reader' making way for more emotionally charged terms like 'join' and 'member' to echo the increased sense of belonging.

What do you think? Does this echo what you have seen and experienced?

Guild is very focused on the 'Belong' phase and helps B2B media businesses and publishers engage with their subscribers and members in a mobile-first way.

But why should B2B publishers even want to move towards a 'community' proposition?