Accelerating subscription growth at MIT Technology Review

HBM Advisory was asked by MIT Technology Review to build a roadmap to accelerate its digital subscription growth.
The title had experienced solid, if not industry-leading growth, and the CEO, Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau, had recruited a new editor-in-chief from Buzzfeed News, Mat Honan, to lead the charge on editorial transformation. 
She believed that a joined-up content, product and go-to-market strategy was needed to fulfil the digital potential of this 100-plus-year-old publication.
Elizabeth was confident that the combined experience of Alan and Michael would provide the aligned approach required to develop a digital growth roadmap.

She said: “I had worked with Michael at the Economist Intelligence Unit when he joined as CMO and also observed the fast growth in circulation volumes, revenues and profits he achieved at The Economist. Coupled with Alan’s journalistic background and success as Head of Digital for The Times, I knew HBM Advisory could cover all the areas we needed to transform.”

The project kicked-off with Elizabeth completing HBM’s proprietary Digital Fitness Assessment. The results showed where progress had been made, but also where to focus resources and where the greatest opportunities lay. If anything the assessment had confirmed to Elizabeth that the need for a joined-up roadmap was ever more pressing.

HBM Advisory audited the content, product and marketing strategies which identified some immediate steps for Elizabeth and her senior team to take, including a need to bring on board interim talent to cover gaps in digital expertise. HBM Advisory helped in the recruitment process.

We then played  back observations from internal and market assessments to the senior team and gained their buy-in to pursue multiple hypotheses. HBM Advisory subsequently went on to prioritise their recommendations and build an investment model to reach an audacious growth goal agreed with Elizabeth. After presenting their assessment, recommendations and roadmap to Elizabeth’s top table, HBM Advisory then shared their recommendations with the MIT Technology Review Board of Directors.

By the end of the initial engagement, Alan and Michael had worked with MIT Technology Review staff to build a fully costed investment case, a subscriptions marketing plan, a content strategy and a product development plan, as well as advising on how to ensure all internal stakeholders – and the Board – were bought into the project. They continue to work with Elizabeth and her senior team as they implement the recommendations.

Elizabeth summarised her experience: “Working with HBM Advisory has been an incredibly worthwhile experience. They have truly helped us to focus our resources and our efforts to accelerate the digital transformation of MIT Technology Review. 

“They understand that growing the digital circulation of a publication requires a holistic approach that both the editorial and commercial teams can buy into. They both understand what it means to be a leader and how to engage a wider team. I trust them wholeheartedly and have embraced their recommendations.”

At HBM Advisory we help our clients guide their way through the business of subscriptions, starting with our proprietary Digital Fitness Assessment. Contact us today to book yours

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