Media, Publishing and Big Data: Different Starting Points, Similar Destinations

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Quaero works with many media and publishing clients. We help them drive traffic and client engagement on their digital properties and, by capturing and analyzing the data that comes along with this, we also help them monetize this traffic and these relationships. These two related industries may look very similar, but they face diametrically opposite challenges.

Most media companies are evolving from broadcast roots and their focus is onsocial tv content and reach. In the past, they have not had data about individual viewers nor have they done much direct marketing. As a result, they are new to the world of data and, given the huge volumes of data that are being generated as consumption moves to digital devices, it is akin to someone who does not know how to swim jumping into the deep end of the pool with little or no training. Some believe that it is the best way to learn to swim. Most of our media clients, I suspect, will disagree.

Publishing companies, on the other hand, have historically been very circulation driven and most them have built very sophisticated direct/database marketing organizations over the years to manage their acquisition and renewals of subscribers. They have built analytic models for everything from list sources to which message or pricing works with which target segment. You would think that this sophistication and deep knowledge of their subsriber base and data management would make their migration to digital media easier. You would be wrong. This legacy almost gets in the way. The shift from batch, outbound campaigns to nuanced contact strategies, from direct marketing to audience engagment, from bi-channel (typically email and direct mail) to omni-channel calls for significant changes in thinking and behavior. These changes challenge deeply held practices, processes and cultural norms. The database marketing organizations typically only had to engage with circulation, often outsourcing their database to vendors. The new departments may not even be in marketing. They have to work with IT more effectively in order to bring in online social, app usage and advertising viewing data. They have to take a much broader, more strategic view of the customer data.

So which journey is the easier one? Not an easy question to answer. May not even be the right question. On the one hand is an industry drinking new concepts from a fire hose and in danger of drowning in it. On the other, is an industry that is challenged with having to adapt long established practices they are comfortable with and have been successful for them in the past but are diminishing in effectiveness rapidly.

Same end goal, but two very different journeys.

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