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The Strategic Intersection of Events, Digital, and Data: A New Era for Media Companies

Heather Holst-Knudsen
April 8, 2024

C-level leaders are rethinking their strategies and prioritizing data-driven growth. In order to stay relevant and competitive, businesses must focus on creating value through the use of data and leveraging technology in sectors such as media, events, and marketing.

In a thought-provoking piece by Jacob Donnelly, Founder of A Media Operator, in his recent article, Why Media & Events Go Hand in Hand, the spotlight is turned on an increasingly relevant topic in the business landscape: the intersection of events and digital transformation. A few of the points made that resonated with me and that I recap below with additional context include:

  1. Investor-Centric versus Customer-Centric Approach
  2. The Informa Paradigm
  3. Defining the Correct Customer Journey
  4. The AI Conversation (always there, no way out)


If you are a leader in media and events and not a member of Jacob’s AMO Community, you are missing out. Jacob has one of the best, most active, highly engaged, and exciting communities in the media and event spaces. Here’s a link to join. Full disclosure, there is no affiliate relationship at all, I am just a huge fan and love what he is doing. You will too.


Investor-Centric versus Customer-Centric Approach

The separation of media and events businesses is not due to what customers want but rather what investors want. Investors want high-margin, easy-to-assign valuation businesses. When you combine media and events that have different valuation multiples and cost infrastructures, this sometimes makes things messy. While this worked in the past, it’s my opinion that the tide has shifted and businesses that do not offer a Vision-to-Decision approach for buyers and a “Start the Conversation Early and Stay There” for sellers may miss out on desired valuation and buyer attractiveness, especially with strategics.

Most US-based media companies offer events (think Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Crains’s Business), and it is a critical component of value for customers, improving annual contract size, lifetime value, audience engagement metrics, and overall revenue growth. The media plus events combination offers revenue diversification, which as we saw during Covid, was a lifeline for many. 

Additional structural changes are making this intersection more vital and critical. Data monetization, 1st party data, AI, and the radically changing landscape of audience acquisition and retention channels, and changing customer preferences and demands are just a few of those factors.

The Informa Paradigm: A Leap into the Modern Media Ecosystem

Informa's decision to shed its traditional media assets might have seemed radical at the time. While I wonder if they knew this when they sold over 20 B2B media titles to Endeavor Business Media in 2019, it underscored a forward-thinking approach to digital transformation. By offloading legacy media operations entrenched in outdated practices and data environments, Informa opened the door to fuel its lucrative event business with modern, 365/24/7 media businesses that are profitable on their own but also add strategic value to events and add significant value to a new revenue stream through data monetization. 

Informa now boasts two modern media entities - Industry Dive and TechTarget - that started out as pure digital plays with zero legacy print, that offer incredible scale, in terms of market reach, data solutions, and SaaS subscription offerings. This strategic realignment is perfectly in sync with their GAP2 objectives in the area of data and digital.

One of the most compelling aspects of Informa's transformation is its emphasis on first-party data. In an era where data is king, Informa's ability to collect, analyze, and monetize this information in a SaaS-like model is not just innovative; it's a game-changer. This approach not only diversifies revenue streams but also enriches the value they offer to their clients and the broader market.

Simply reading TechTarget’s homepage content is all you need.

But then scroll down a bit further…

And finally, voila!


  • Connecting all that purchase intent digital data to in-person event behaviors to improve customer funnel outcomes
  • Identifying who are the most likely high-value attendee targets to convert and where they are most likely to convert?
  • Produce rockstar-level hosted buyer programs using precise, real-time buying signals

Defining the Correct Customer Journey

Another critical point Jacob raises is the evolution of the buyer/seller journey in the context of a media + events + data ecosystem. The traditional pathways to purchase – reading articles, downloading white papers, attending webinars, or participating in events – are no longer standalone touchpoints. Instead, they are part of a broader, more intricate journey that requires a nuanced understanding of the buyer's needs and behaviors.

For example, in sectors like manufacturing MRO supplies or enterprise software, the route to purchase is far from linear. Buyers seek comprehensive solutions to their needs, making product discovery a pivotal phase in their journey. Here, media and event companies have a unique opportunity to enhance the customer experience. By curating deep repositories of products organized by category and searchable by various criteria (features, integrations, price points, industry focus, etc.), these companies can significantly impact the decision-making process. Facilitating actions such as saving, sharing, comparing, and responding to RFPs/RFIs not only aids in the discovery phase but also propels buyers closer to the crucial mid-to-end of the funnel stages.

From the convergence standpoint, the deeper you embed yourself into the buyer journey, the more purchase intent data you will acquire which in turn allows you to produce better demand generation campaign results, provide highly relevant curated journeys for audience members, and if you offer matchmaking services, you can accelerate and improve the match rate quantitatively and qualitatively.

Leveraging AI to Deepen Engagement

I naturally delve into the realm of AI in our conversation. By crafting a captivating "Vision to Decision" path for buyers and offering sellers the "Start the Conversation Early and Stay There" initiative, which merges media, events, and decision-making tools, the prospect of leveraging AI in a profitable manner—be it for internal enhancements, product enhancements, or standalone commercial solutions—is truly exciting.

The wealth of data generated through interactions on these platforms offers unprecedented opportunities for highly curated and relevant experiences that both buyers and sellers will be willing to pay for. More on that in a follow-up blog.

The Road Ahead

As we reflect on the insights from Jacob's article, it's evident that the intersection of events, digital, and data is not just reshaping the media landscape; it's setting a new benchmark for how businesses engage with their audiences. Informa's strategic pivot serves as a compelling case study for the potential that lies in embracing digital transformation, leveraging data, and rethinking the customer journey. For media companies and event organizers, the message is clear: the future belongs to those who can integrate these elements to deliver a more nuanced, personalized, and valuable experience to both buyers and sellers.


H2K Labs partners with businesses of all sizes, from startups to large corporations, to leverage data for scalable financial gain and comprehensive value creation.  We specialize in tech-enabled strategies, utilizing advanced analytics to uncover new revenue opportunities, enhance existing revenue streams, and optimize margins, thereby increasing sustainable long-term growth and enterprise value.  Our services are powered by H2K's analytic platform, Insightify, and include AI-driven predictive analytics, comprehensive revenue management, and strategic M&A support services. 


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