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Advantage a Great Tool for Audience Development

Once upon a time, a multi-title publisher would have multiple boxes of subscriber files to handle fulfillment. At some point, these card files went onto computer systems, but remained segmented by title. Then a revolution came along: a single customer database. First, this meant that a subscriber to two publications would have just one customer record in the database. Then later, it meant that a subscriber to two titles, who purchased books and other products, who also attended a conference and did some advertising and bought online content, still had just one customer record in the database. Marketers were thrilled! In one place, they could see everything such a customer had done? all the buying behavior, payment patterns, responses to promotions and even demographic information. They had all of this information in one database, and since it was the transactional database, this information was accurate, up-to-date, and accessible. (Well, accessible might have come later.)

Somewhere in here came e-commerce, and customer self-service, and the API and lots of wonderful technology that made it easy for readers to subscribe, purchase and read content. Software came along that could tell the publisher how much their customers were actually using the content. Marketers began to move away from print marketing into electronic marketing. The message about their products went out quicker and at less cost than with traditional direct mail.

Of course, there were some challenges in all this, like duplicate customers, marketers who had separate marketing databases, and circulation directors who couldn't get quick answers to questions about their circulation, renewal rates and the like. It used to be that sales people would make a deal and then inform the company of what it had to do to live up to the promised terms of the deal. The rest of the company would roll their eyes and try to figure out how to meet the unchecked promises.

But times have changed. Now technology is in a position to drive the business. In fact, we find that many clients have the latest technology but aren't fully exploiting it. I realize that I'm uniquely unqualified to say this, but publishers are so busy trying to develop their audience they haven't always stopped to look at what tools they might already have in place to jump-start their efforts. The integrated database is one of them. With Advantage, you have at your beck and call an enabler of audience development like no other. This integrated database provides you with enough information to keep your marketers busy around the clock. Demographics, buying patterns, RFM scoring, cross-selling and the ability to query the transactional database for online, real-time information are just some of the catalysts to your audience development. Loyalty-building functionality in Advantage will help keep your audience loyal to your brand. Such things include not only frequent buyer programs, sweepstakes promotions, coupons and other such hooks but excellent customer care tools. It is my strong belief that one of the best ways of keeping your audience loyal is to treat them like royalty. Getting their information into your system quickly and accurately is a great way to start, and scanning and imaging are just two examples of many ways to get this accomplished.

If you have one group handling print and another handling e-media, you are missing something. Media is media, from our perspective, and marketing any form of it should be a concentrated, integrated, sophisticated, comprehensive, successful and fun effort. Advantage is there to really push your audience development. Give us a call. We're here to support your growth.

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