Customer data key to successful publishing
Good customer data could change the way publishers succeed. Chantelle Bronkhorst reports.
The future of successful publishing could lie in the thorough collection and innovative use of customer data, says Nigel Tutt, general manager of digital media at Fairfax, New Zealand.
Mr Tutt was a key speaker at this year’s Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association’s (PANPA) Future Forum.
He explained how publishers could use successful data strategies to ensure their success and generate profit in the ever-changing media environment.
In 2011 Mr Tutt won the PANPA Hegarty Young Executive of the Year Award. He used the $10,000 Hegarty Award prize money to visit publishers and successful online media companies around the world, and identify what made them successful.
The companies Mr Tutt visited included Google, Adobe, The Telegraph, LinkedIn, The New York Times and Netflix. His speech outlined some of the publishers’ business developments and strategies.
Mr Tutt explained that The New York Times had a well-structured pay wall system in place, and a very good research division that set it apart from its competitors.
Its research division gave The New York Times a competitive edge through thorough knowledge of their audience’s online reading experience and the products they used. It then used this data to effectively structure its advertising, product and paid content around its audience.
Mr Tutt said it was at Netflix where he observed how publishers could use the metrics gained from their customer’s data to better target their audience.
He said that Netflix was a word leader in innovation of product process as it spends a lot of time analysing which metrics make their business successful. Once those elements were identified they were added to the core business structure and strategy.
What surprised Mr Tutt the most, he said, was how Netflix used their customers’ metrics and data to filter out the vocal minority.
When a new product or advertising strategy was introduced to the market, Netflix would introduce three to four variations at the same time, test which one was most successful and remove the least successful.
Mr Tutt said that “media needs to get past the past” in order for publishing companies to survive in this ever-changing technological environment.
“The companies that are doing well are ever adapting to this continually changing landscape, and are the ones that aren’t worrying about what happened five to ten years ago and comparing their business now to what it was then.”
Knowing your audience is essential, and is now a big part of successful marketing more than ever before, said Mr Tutt.
He urged traditional publishers to update and innovate their processes very quickly as significant changes were talking place in a very short space of time.
Changes to a business’ cultural and structural processes are imperative, he said.
A publisher’s advertising strategy needs to be changed to gain the data that is now needed to create a successful digital marketing campaign.
With correct data collected publishers can target the advertising more effectively, avoiding blind inventory and data leakage.
He said that publishers need to learn how to adapt from their tech company competitors, such as Google and Yahoo, and that traditional publishing companies must become tech companies too. At the end of the day, he said, this comes down to successful data collection.
Mr Tutt said that publishers need a “good solid strategy,” made up of three main components: the data that is measurable, useable, and “monetisable.”
Above all, he said, the publisher must respect their users and their confidentiality while collecting data.
Mr Tutt concluded that publishers have a competitive advantage when correct data is collected because good content and advertising strategies can be created. Publishers can add emotion to their advertising, while other media companies cannot.
Publishers with correct and usable data will gain multidimensional benefits from knowledge of their audience, and can target their marketing strategies accordingly.