Case Studies

Digital media strategy project case studies

Learn from the experiences of Speciall Media clients.

Speciall Media creates practical digital media and marketing strategies for print publishers making the digital transition and organisations that want to use digital content to attract new customers.


Read about the projects we have worked on below:

Read recommendations from clients we have worked with.

For a more detailed individual discussion about your business and its specific digital media and marketing requirements just contact us for a no-obligation initial meeting

Developing a digital subscription product in the healthcare sector

A UK B2B publisher wanted to develop a digital, mobile first product for healthcare professionals.  We researched both user and buyer markets, analysed competitors and developed a unique value proposition.  A digital agency was briefed to create a prototype product which was tested with users.  We built a business case and the product is now out with a group of beta subscribers.

Researching digital transformation for a maritime publisher

A global publisher had established print and DVD products for the maritime sector, sold via resellers.  We researched the structure of the market, analysed sales trends and interviewed a number of resellers to establish the best way to digitise our products and integrate to their systems for end users.

Launching a paid digital membership

A specialist B2B publisher whose business model was previously driven by advertising and marketing solutions, wanted to create a paid digital membership proposition.  We researched the audience, developed new premium content and advised on marketing. They now have a steady six-figure recurring revenue stream and a core of loyal members.

Building a digital strategy for a new portfolio

A diversified publishing group had acquired a number of titles in a single sector and wanted a unifying digital growth strategy.  We reviewed the titles, interviewed publishers and editors, and compiled case studies of best practice from other sectors.  We created a digital strategy paper which was discussed with CEO and NED, and priorities agreed.  Almost two years later, many have been implemented, the portfolio has grown, and we have been commissioned to update the strategy for the next phase.

Programming the Publishing Show

We developed the content programme for the 2021 Publishing Show, with 60 speakers across two theatres and two days.

Strategic review for independent specialist consumer publisher

We reviewed their business plan, shared benchmarks from other publishers and facilitated a discussion on strategic priorities.

Digital transformation for a European publisher

We assembled a project team who worked together virtually over several months to analyse their current business, identify customer segments, conduct a series of interviews and develop the spec for a new digital subscription product.  The CEO is now seeking an external investor to fund its growth.

Niche acquisition search for indie publishers

We agreed criteria, researched candidates and provided a shortlist to the client.  We agreed priorities, and I made anonymous approaches, and advised on the purchase of one title.  Three years later this title has grown, employs several new staff and the owners have asked for a further acquisition search.

Membership revenues for family-owned publisher

We designed a board strategy day based on analysis of publishing and audience data and bringing in benchmarks and case studies from other markets.

Launching a B2B media digital business

A publisher with an idea for a new b2b magazine launch wanted advice on designing their website. We created the structure and sections of the site from scratch, based on best practice in b2b media, advised on selecting an agency, and then briefed the agency team in detail on the design and functionality of the website. We agreed with the publisher the content strategy for free/social, registered and subscription content, and also how to incorporate commercially sponsored content. We interviewed several end users on the beta site and included their feedback in the final version. The site launched in December 2016 and has been well received by the market.

Advising on a targeted acquisition search

A large European publisher wanted to identify potential UK acquisition targets. We discussed their criteria, profiled a number of potential targets and set up meetings. Several discussions are still ongoing.

Researching best practice in B2B events

We interviewed ten senior B2B leaders to understand how they are strategically growing their B2B events, and the challenges they have faced. This resulted in an in-depth report on best practice in B2B events.

Uncovering digital opportunities for a business audience

A B2B media organisation was keen to digitise an established PDF based product. We facilitated a series of workshop discussions with current clients to explore in detail their current workflow and understand where and how digital products could enhance their processes, deliver savings and reduce risk. This has provided the team with clear direction for their business case and product development.

Investigating digital behaviour for a consumer specialist publisher

A consumer publisher was keen to invest in digital alternatives to its print portfolio.  We ran a workshop to identify key questions, collaborated with a research agency on a quant study, and advised on the interpretation of the resulting audience segmentation.  The publisher is now planning qualitative research.

Chairing and moderating B2B conferences

We were approached by a launch event focussing on B2B marketing in a global industry sector.  We advised on the programme, sourced some speakers, reviewed presentations in advance, and ran a conference call with debate panellists.  Over two days Carolyn moderated the event, introducing speakers, chairing Q&As, moderating panel discussions and summing up at the end of the day.  We gave feedback on the format for the organisers and they plan to repeat the event.

Developing digital advertising revenue

A print controlled circulation B2B publisher with an outdated website needed to provide a wider range of digital marketing solutions to its advertisers. We interviewed the key members of staff, and advised on a replacement web platform. We designed and ran a workshop session on best practice in digital advertising, and then created a series of project teams for the main action points. The publisher is now considering how to balance content across their print and digital channels. They are also keen to grow two live events that provide additional opportunities for advertisers to reach their audience.

Disposing of specialist consumer titles

A consumer publisher had identified a number of titles for disposal. We interviewed the individual publishers and reviewed statistics and wrote a tailored information memorandum for each title that emphasised their respective strategic value. With the MD, we created a list of prospective buyers and contacted them individually and confidentially, checking that there was a good strategic fit before sharing information and answering questions. The client received some credible offers and transactions are now completed.

Acquisition search for a niche B2B publisher

A small independent publisher was looking for an acquisition under £1m turnover with very specific requirements.  We researched a long list of over 50 businesses, and then provided detailed profiles on a shortlist.  The acquirer selected a small number for direct anonymous approaches.  They are now in discussions with their preferred candidate.

Creating a registration wall for a b2b publisher

An established niche b2b publisher had always operated a completely free website, but wanted to develop a registration wall (and ultimately a paid digital subscription proposition). We ran a series of workshops for their editorial and marketing teams to examine what content would justify registration. They successfully tested the new registration wall, and in the first month the level of new email sign ups exceeded the figures from the full year prior to the registration wall.

Creating a content plan for a new web platform

The publishing arm of a professional membership organisation had just established a new mobile friendly web platform. They wanted to encourage their print editorial and marketing teams across several titles to produce appropriate content for free web users and for paid subscribers, and rethink how subscriber content was planned across the print magazines and the subscription pages on the new websites. We designed and facilitated a series of five workshops to explore what content works well in digital, and how the editorial teams could develop their planning and commissioning to derive the greatest value from the new platform. The sessions were occasionally challenging but using plenty of interactive exercises, we helped to spark the imagination of the editorial teams and change how content was planned across print and digital.

Creating a digital strategy in a consumer specialist market

This specialist publisher had ten print magazines with strong subs base but limited web presence. Working with the MD and team over a period of 18 months, we ran strategic workshops, initiated a reader survey, helped design a web template and set up a content and social strategy, and supported marketing of new digital editions. The social content drove new readers, the email database grew, and the web template was rolled out to other titles in the portfolio. They have since launched an e-commerce business in their specialist field. We facilitated monthly project meetings and provided flexible support to the digital project manager by phone and email.

Forecasting the future of global media measurement

For an international media measurement association we interviewed client and agency thought leaders worldwide and collated published statistics to document global trends in media and advertising. We then interviewed a dozen media measurement organisations to assess how they were adapting their operations to meet future trends. We presented recommendations to an international conference and were invited back two years later to update the report.

Bringing a digital data product to market

A professional association wanted to convert a print product used as a reference to a mobile friendly, regularly updated, digital subscription product. Carolyn joined as Interim Product Owner just as the beta version was made available to customers. We set up a user group, prioritised new features, and liaised with the India-based developers, and internal tech, sales and marketing teams within an agile development process. We created a roadmap for the future development of the product and handed over to a permanent Product Owner after three months.

Analysing best practice in data and intelligence products

We interviewed a dozen b2b media organisations who had successfully launched or grown premium subscription data products, to identify best practice. From these interviews we wrote a detailed report. The project was sponsored by a data management company, who have found the report an excellent way to generate leads. It worked so well they asked us to research a second report the following year.

Disposal of a niche B2B media business

The founder of this specialist, controlled circulation magazine with associated live events and website wanted to sell. We wrote the information memorandum, identifying the key value points of the business, approached potential buyers and took part in early negotiations. The transaction has now completed.

Reshaping a print magazine portfolio for digital future

We worked with the MD of this niche consumer publisher to assess the strategic value of each market and title, and, through 1-1 interviews with key staff, identified the key challenges and digital opportunities. We established a set of KPIs to monitor progress towards strategic goals, and facilitated management meetings to create an action plan.

Digital marketing strategy for professional training business

Advanced Management Skills provides training for consultants that leads to professional qualifications.  They had seen a decline in course bookings, and asked us to refresh their digital marketing strategy.  We analysed feedback from course participants, reviewed the competition, and developed a clear proposition for the business.  We reviewed the structure of their website, developed a strategy for creating an email newsletter, and set up a blog to provide useful resources to visitors to the site and those who had attended courses.  AM Skills have seen an upturn in course bookings.

Web relaunch strategy for a specialist magazine publisher

This publisher wanted to move their existing site onto a new technical platform.  They asked Penmaen Media to provide advice on how best to relaunch the site and fully integrate it with their print activity.  We reviewed the functionality of the site, and ran a strategic workshop with the publishing, marketing, commercial and editorial team to agree the launch strategy, share best practice and create a launch action plan.  The site launch was successful, and exceeded traffic expectations.

Project management of multiple web launches for a large media business

Carolyn Morgan directed a large-scale project rolling out seven websites on a new technology platform for Emap’s specialist markets. This involved creating propositions that were complementary to their magazine businesses, building business plans, and managing the process of content creation and technical implementation, followed by the organisational and cultural issues of integrating the new web businesses into the magazine teams. All the sites beat their traffic projections, and contributed over £2m in revenue within the first year.

Paid content options for a large consumer publisher

We researched opportunities to develop specialist paid online content, for this large consumer publisher, and developed a plan to launch a readers club.

Commercial revenue options for a specialist consumer publisher

We evaluated options to grow the commercial revenues from their website, from sponsorship, directories and ad networks. They now have a clearer plan to grow their advertising revenues.

New service development for a supplier to the media industry

This organisation already had a wide range of media clients, and wanted to broaden its range of services into consultancy. We facilitated a workshop with the team to explore the requirements of their clients, the services that could be provided, and the barriers to implementation. We focussed this down into a small group of products which they are now implementing.

Growing members and engagement for a niche professional networking business

This business had launched recently and had ambitious plans for growth. We reviewed their current recruitment and engagement activity, ran a workshop reviewing analogous businesses and developed a plan to accelerate recruitment, grow online activity and increase attendance at events.