The Benefits of Behavioral Data
Zeroing in on customers based on their specific preferences.
An integrated database can help companies streamline their customersâ€™ experience, uncover new product opportunities and be the catalyst for a successful lead generation program. But most importantly, it can give publishers a chance to highly target their customers based on their preferences. In order to do so, however, the right behavioral data needs to be collected and organized.
PennWell Publishing has multiple databases, including a brand database that has over 5 million names and houses all of the information on individual customers that interact with its brandsâ€”magazines, e-newsletters, tradeshows, whitepapers, virtual events and the Web. The company is also in the process of creating a marketing database that combines multiple magazines serving a single marketâ€”for example, the petroleum marketâ€”to get a better feel for cross activity within each market.
â€śWe donâ€™t have as much data on Web activity as weâ€™d like, but that is the direction in which weâ€™re headed,â€ť says Gloria Adams, SVP, audience development and book publishing. â€śBut I do know whoâ€™s registered [on the Web], which Webinars theyâ€™ve attended and which whitepapers theyâ€™ve downloaded. This allows us to do much tighter targeting and figure out what the proper audience would be for certain products. The more info you have, the more finely you can target.â€ť
Most of the process of collecting the data resides at PennWellâ€™s fulfillment provider. Anyone that signs up for a product is on file with the fulfillment company and the rest of the data from PennWellâ€™s Webinar and whitepaper providers are imported. The manager of each brand is responsible for importing these names at least once per quarter. The files are then coded accordingly.
The marketing group works closely with the audience development team to determine how the customers will be targeted and promoted to, but the AD managers are the only ones that have access to the names for promotional purposes. â€śWe like to keep access to the database controlled to be sure that the information is being interpreted correctly,â€ť says Adams.
Having this behavioral data allows the company to reduce the amount of e-mail that it sends to its customers, leaving behind the blanket-coverage, batch-and-blast strategy. â€śThere are a lot of publishers out there that are still in the mindset that the more e-mails you send out the better,â€ť she said. â€śAnd when we started, we had to e-mail every single person on file or that had a certain demographic to get them to subscribe. But the more data we collect, the tighter we can make our lists. So instead of sending messages to 100,000 people, we can send messages to just 35,000.â€ť
Adams added that the company plans to go a lot deeper with behavioral targeting once Web site info, such as the specific pages customers are viewing and how much time they spend on those pages, becomes available. â€śBut right now, as e-mail becomes the primary medium for contact with our audience, the more we can highly target them, the less likely weâ€™re going to make them angry,â€ť she says. â€śIf you provide relevant content, customers wonâ€™t opt out, but if you start sending them too many e-mails or information thatâ€™s not relevant to them, theyâ€™ll get upset.â€ť