Make the Most of Your Audience Data
A conversation with Carrie Bourke, director of customer analytics and insights at Harvard Business Review.
Carrie Bourke knows what readers want. As the director of customer analytics and insights for the Harvard Business Review Group at Harvard Business Publishing, Bourke leads a team of analysts focused on making the most of the wealth of consumer data available to them.
As a noted speaker at the Folio: Show on Nov. 1 and 2, Bourke will host a session entitled “Growing & Leveraging Your Audience Database.” Here, she tells Folio: how to make data actionable in a world of increasing information.
Folio: What is the best way for a media company to leverage its audience database?
Carrie Bourke: Effective uses are email campaign execution; segmentation and modeling, which allow you to better target your universe; and analytics. At HBR we offer several ways for our users to interact with our brand — read, save and share content; register on HBR.org; subscribe to our magazine; sign up for a newsletter; follow us on social; watch a webinar; buy a product — so we’re able to capture a vast and varied amount of customer data.
Our marketing database serves as the repository where all this data is brought together, providing a rich 360-degree view of our member community. This data provides value to stakeholders across the organization, facilitating a robust email program, advanced segmentation for targeting and personalization, and reporting and insight analysis.
Folio: How do you use data to market to your audience of business professionals?
Bourke: We’ve found that attributes such as industry type and job type have proven to be important considerations as we develop content and products, personalize the web experience, and market our products. For example, through research and UX we’ve uncovered how CEOs and consultants use our site and content differently. CEOs tend to come to the site to spark ideas in their own thinking and to keep abreast of the competitive landscape, while consultants want to get up to speed quickly on a topic and share content with their clients. Insights like these drive discussion and help us better meet the needs of our growing membership community.
Folio: Do you have a favorite analytics tool?
Bourke: We are in the middle of evaluating our current query and reporting tools, so the jury is out on favorites there. However, in my experience, a well-built predictive model is an invaluable analytic tool. When built effectively, a model not only sharpens our ability to target our customers for a specific objective, but it significantly reduces the time required to execute and report on campaigns. For example, we have well over 2 million HBR.org registrants with less than 1 percent subscribing to the magazine each month. Our model allows us to score this vast universe on their likelihood to subscribe, which directly informs our marketing and personalization efforts, and improves campaign effectiveness.