In 2012, Sean Griffey, Eli Dickinson and Ryan Willumson set out to deliver on an ambitious vision: founding a B2B business journalism company which disregarded paywalls and focused on delivering original news and analysis to carefully curated audiences of business leaders and decision-makers, with the goal of helping them navigate complex issues and shifting environments.
The company now counts an audience of nearly 13 million executives and leaders, including readers at all of the Fortune 100 companies, who get their news via 28 web-based publications and more than 70 daily and weekly email newsletters.
Industry Dive’s success in creating a thriving media business and attracting a highly-engaged and relevant audience caught global publisher Informa’s attention. Informa’s technology-focused division, Informa Tech, is equally focused on inspiring an engaged audience and helping clients start high-value, highly relevant conversations.
Following Informa’s successful $389m bid to acquire Industry Dive announced in July, Informa Tech and Industry Dive are set to start close collaboration to inspire audiences to drive progress in their respective industries and help connect peers, thought-leaders, buyers and sellers across business communities.
Informa Tech CEO, Gary Nugent, and Sean Griffey, CEO of Industry Dive, discuss the industry landscape, collaboration benefits and opening up new opportunities to clients.
The evolution of Industry Dive since its inception in 2012 is one of the most positive stories in the media space recently. How do you see this acquisition placed in the context of the future of the media?
Sean – There have been a number of positive media evolution stories recently and I’m flattered that we are considered one of them.
I think the acquisition of Industry Dive by Informa validates a few of the key components of our underlying business thesis. Mostly, the incredible value of niche audiences, how the ability to collect and utilise first-party data differentiates media companies; and, ultimately, quality content still matters. If you aren’t serving your audience unique and valuable content, you won’t be in business long.
Overall, I’d hope this acquisition highlights that there are no shortcuts when it comes to media. Building and serving audiences takes time and a tremendous amount of care. No fad or pivot is going to change that dynamic.
Gary – Industry Dive understands its audiences and places their needs at the heart of the decision-making. This leads to a captive, high-quality community that is fully engaged with the communications sent to them. As Sean highlighted, quality content still matters, and thankfully this is always going to be a fundamental principle of successful media in the future.
In a world of yesterday’s ‘chip wrapper’ and today’s ‘clickbait,” a focus on quality is actually highly differentiating. It generates high value, and it is what makes the Industry Dive approach stand out in a competitive landscape. Ultimately, success is about what the audiences need when they need it.
Industry Dive is a very successful business. What are the other qualities that make it an attractive business to partner with?
Gary – One of Industry Dive’s strongest qualities is its focus on high quality journalism and the pride that they take in producing content that engages and informs. That is translated into so many results, such as an engaged and growing audience and, of course, the industry awards they have earned so far.
The simplicity and the scalability of the business model are impressive and, within that, the keen judgment they have used to strike a balance between customisation and standardisation of content.
And perhaps most importantly, their culture – everyone I have met at Industry Dive is passionate about what they do and incredibly professional and humble. We definitely have common values, common spirits.
What makes Informa the right home for Industry Dive?
Sean – First and foremost, we were looking for a place that understood our mission and shared our values. We found that with Informa.
Ten years ago, Industry Dive was started with the goal of helping senior executives in niche business markets navigate complex issues and shifting environments. With that background, Informa’s purpose of “championing the specialist” spoke to us right away.
On the surface, many of the industries that we both operate in aren’t considered flashy or sexy but they impact everybody. The work we do helps define markets and ultimately has dramatic impacts on the world we live in. We wanted to partner with someone who not only understood the potential of niche markets but celebrated it.
Culturally, we also felt an immediate fit. The people at both companies are curious, ambitious, and want to have a real impact. Equally important, the leadership at both companies are committed to creating an environment where colleagues can bring their own personality and succeed. It’s a great match.
Looking forward, what can we expect from this union?
Gary – The possibilities for our clients are really exciting! We will be exploring opportunities to create new and innovative services together to really maximise what we each do best. This is all about being at the heart of the world’s largest, engaged business community, inspiring our audiences, and starting key conversations for our clients.
The future includes harnessing Industry Dive’s content marketing services expertise with our own and working together to create a next-generation portfolio of digital demand generation products and services, fueled by our fully permissioned, first-party audience data.
At the same time, we want to bring the power of Informa to Industry Dive – to accelerate the launch of new Dives; to bring the interest of our extensive communities; and to use our event experience to provide more connection opportunities for their audiences.
Sean – Long-term, I’m particularly excited about how we might jointly build new data products. The media and demand generation landscapes are rapidly changing. The next great company is being built today and it will leverage niche communities, first-party data, and world-class marketing services.
Tying online interests and actions to in-person behaviors will create something truly unique. The shared vision and complementary capabilities we each bring is what makes this partnership so powerful for our industry communities.