Three Pieces of Consumer Data Publishers Need and What To Do With Them

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

dataCustomer feedback, accurate contact information, and conversion statistics are essential consumer data for publishers. Publishing insiders speaking at our Digital Book World 2013 Conference + Expo in January called out those three sorts of data as essential.

Businesses and publishers can use that data to develop strategy in three particular areas, according to David Rogers, author of The Network is Your Customer, who spoke this week at the BRITE ’13 conference on global brand leadership at Columbia’s Business School in New York.

First the essential data:

This is fairly self-evident: customer reviews, reader comments on what they are buying (reading) and why, is invaluable to brands, publishers, and authors.

Contact Information
Email addresses plus the permission to use them is key information for publishers, according to Suzie Sisoler, Director of Consumer Engagement for Penguin Group U.S., who spoke at DBW13.

Expanding this data beyond email to include zip code, which can be appended to census records and extrapolated to comprise demographic data, makes it even more useful. Sisoler recommends that publishers develop the data even further by tracking what customers are clicking on when sent newsletters.

Publishers must track the frequency of repeat customers.

This particular data should be leveraged and simultaneously used to encourage repeat customers by creating a VIP program, says Lucas Hilbert, vice president of e-commerce at F+W Media (parent to Digital Book World), who also spoke at DBW13. Hilbert advises announcing sales early to VIP customers.

And, now for a bit more strategy:

There are three ways businesses (including publishers, no doubt) need to think differently about data, according to the author Rogers.

Predictive analytics
Decision-making should be powered by insights drawn from data. Reviews and reader feedback can be explored to determine how consumers characterize a brand or imprint. Brand perception can best be guided when it’s well understood.

Data presents the opportunity to create better experiences for customers, enabling content and product innovation related to the lifestyle and unique interests of customers.

Rogers points out that consumers themselves are a “key strategic” marketing asset. Enthusiastic and loyal customers can be ready brand advocates. One such example is The Avon Addicts program that HarperCollins CMO Angela Tribelli describes in this interview. And, the marketing reach of customer-advocates is extensive in the social media space.

Gathering and leveraging big data isn’t the singular privilege of large publishing houses and big corporations. By combining data, tools, and the particular skills of humans to see patterns, any size company can use data to thrive and grow in the digital age, said Rogers.

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About DeannaUtroske

Deanna Utroske is the Content Producer at Digital Book World and an active member of New York Women in Communications, where she serves on the Integrated Marketing & Communications Committee. Previously, Deanna worked in the editorial office of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, a publication of the University of Chicago Press.

2 thoughts on “Three Pieces of Consumer Data Publishers Need and What To Do With Them

  1. David Rogers (@David_Rogers)

    Thanks, Deanna, for joining us at BRITE ’13, and sharing your thoughts from my talk. I definitely agree that book publishing is one of the industries that can better leverage the power of data to thrive in a networked world. It will definitely be among the industries I discuss in my forthcoming book on this topic.

  2. Peter Turner

    Also essential is the life-time value of every customer and how that customer was sourced. Without that you can’t rationalized your direct-to-consumer marketing efforts and constantly refine your what you do to either lowering the price of customer acquisition or increasing their life-time value or both.



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