“I love you.”
Three words you would least expect at the end of a business newsletter. And definitely, not in a business-to-business (B2B) newsletter promising data and insights on technology markets, companies, and trends.
But that’s how Anand Sanwal, Co-founder and CEO of research firm CB Insights, signs off the company’s B2B newsletter with over 640,000-odd subscribers – a welcome departure from the staid, formal tone associated with business emails filled with data and insights.
Admittedly, the CB Insights newsletter is a window into the market intelligence firm’s larger approach to delivering research: providing data-driven insights in fun, easy-to-consume formats that cater to people’s shorter attention spans and their growing preference for evidence-backed analysis over anecdote-based ‘punditry.’
“As attention spans have shrunk, short, conversational, and highly visual research is more respectful of the reader’s time and that is the type of research we aim to provide,” Anand tells YourStory.
CB Insights’ research spotlights current and emerging trends in technology, and is the result of mining data points from millions of unstructured documents, such as regulatory filings, news articles, company websites, earnings calls, social media, and patent filings, among others.
“I’d characterise our research as being of ‘higher nutritional value’, which means fewer words and more insights vs being full of ‘empty calories,’ i.e. lots of pages and words with minimal insight,” Anand says.
At its core, the CB Insights newsletter is representative of the company’s out-of-the-box thinking and innovations in customer engagement – all of which has helped cement its position as a leading source for data-driven insights on startups, technology, and venture capital.
The company’s clients include several Fortune 500 companies, including tech majors Cisco and Salesforce, and venture capital firms such as FirstMark Capital and Sequoia Capital. Although clients pay differing amounts based on the data and platform capabilities they want, the average annual subscription last year approached $70,000.
Much of its innovations on customer engagement have centred around addressing the people behind CB Insights’ growing client base.
This explains the fun and rather cheeky tone of its newsletter.
It also explains the focus on bite-sized commentary and shareable infographics, interspersed with links to media articles crediting CB Insights research and details of the company’s proprietary online and offline startup and tech events.
CB Insights’ newsletter strategy
For the most part, Anand’s signature “I love you” sign-off and sharp headlines have helped the CB Insights’ newsletter become one of the most popular B2B newsletters among tech, data, and startup enthusiasts.
The trademark sign-off initially began in 2016 as an experiment to see if anyone was reading the mailers.
It started with just “Love, Anand.”
That piqued people’s interest. Many wrote back asking what that was about. Others replied, “ha, ha.” The interest – for lack of a better word – emboldened Anand, who gradually “escalated things,” until eventually signing off the mailers with the now all-too-familiar “I love you.”
With that, the engagement jumped.
The reactions were aplenty – thankfully, largely positive and not without humour. Some wrote back saying, “I love you too,” others said his emails made them smile, and yet others said it inspired them to tell their team or significant other that they loved them.