Here is something you are going to be seeing more of: pricing plans for paid content designed specifically for the small and midsize business (SMB) market.
That’s exactly what Lexis Nexis is doing. SmallBizTechnology.com reports that Lexis Nexis is selling content on a piece by piece basis, between $3 and $10 a pop:
- Barbara Barclay, vice president of New Channels for LexisNexis Corporate and Federal Markets, said, “We developed LexisNexis AlaCarte! with flexible pricing that does not require subscription fees or other start-up costs,” said Barclay. “This service levels the business intelligence playing field for small businesses that often compete with larger firms that can support in-house research staff. LexisNexis AlaCarte! empowers them to retrieve the information, how and when they need it,” said Barclay.
It sounds so elementary. Price your product so that small businesses and independent professionals can pay “by the drink.”
Yet many paid content providers haven’t bothered to go after smaller pieces of business.
- They may not view SMB business as being worthwhile. After all, selling a single article for $10 doesn’t sound very lucrative when you can sell Corporate customers a $10,000 report or even a $10,000/per month subscription. As long as the Corporate business is around, they think why bother with the smaller stuff?
- Content sellers are afraid of cannibalizing their high-dollar Corporate business by offering lower priced alternatives. They fear their Corporate subscribers just might opt for lower priced alternatives. Above all else, content sellers are looking for predictable, recurring revenue streams that come from subscriptions — not small one-off sales.
- Sometimes it even boils down to a sales channel issue. The SMB market is fragmented and difficult to reach. Low-priced sales “by the drink” don’t leave any room for sales commissions or individualized service.
But all that changes with the Internet, and the availability of powerful, inexpensive search and eCommerce technology. Now it’s possible for content aggregators like Lexis Nexis to sell by the drink. Technology makes it possible to sell cheaply without any human ever touching the sale. It’s yet another way that technology is opening new doors for small businesses.
Also, the market dynamics are changing, making small businesses more attractive target customers. First, the numbers of small businesses and independent professionals who use business content are swelling. Second, many content providers are finding that the Corporate markets are saturated. To achieve the kind of growth they are looking for, they have no choice but to penetrate ever farther down market to get it.