Publishers Merging Database Silos
Forbes, ZDE among companies looking for solutions to manage cross-platform data.
With an ever-growing portfolio of new products and multimedia initiatives, publishers are juggling the pros and cons of creating and maintaining a centralized customer database, financing the effort, and finding the right people to make it happen. While the prospect has proven to be too daunting or financially unfeasible, for some the benefits—leveraging information from your readers, sponsors and advertisers from all platforms to build better cross promotion strategies—are crucial, and a centralized database is the most efficient solution.
One of those publishers is Forbes Media. At the Monetizing the Database session at the DMA’s 22nd annual Circulation Day Event last week, consumer marketing director Johnna Ayres said the company is building a centralized, relational database that spans all of Forbes’ products—from its 900,000-circ namesake magazine to two new lifestyle magazines: ForbesLife and ForbesLife Executive Woman.
The database is being built as a consumer-centric model, with all the media units feeding it with monthly demographic overlays and sharing as much information across the business units as possible. The benefits, Ayres said, are the ability to create segments based on media relationships, better target product offers based on relationships, and the ability to expand customer information—particularly among expires.
Another publisher is Ziff Davis Enterprise. For years, ZDE properties—including publications, e-seminars and its Web Buyers Guide—operated as exclusive profit centers through either their own system or an external service provider. The company’s marketing database was an independent system and the individual properties each week sent a data feed to be loaded into the system. Now, the company has developed an integrated platform that combines information, such as memberships, subscriptions and registrations, from each property in real time.
“With our newly-integrated platform, we are implementing dynamic updates of our customer’s profile, including statistical scores based on prevalent topic categories,” says ZDE marketing database director Bud Shea. “When a customer downloads a white paper, registers for an event or subscribes to a newsletter or publication, the transaction is updated and the customer’s score is modified.”
Shea says ZDE’s score-keeping practice helps the company monitor the activity and engagement of its customers, and is an indicator of how better to offer new products. “The system immediately references a hierarchy of triggers based on related content or events across all of our properties, and deploys an invitation for more content of events,” he says.