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4 reporting habits that could sink your business

May 12, 2015  |   Data-Visualization   |     |   0 Comment

4 reporting habits that could sink your business With so much data, analysts have the power to explain, enlighten or confound. Unfortunately, with a lot of businesses stuck in old ways of reporting metrics, a lot of information is presented quite poorly. That means confusion, bad analysis and, ultimately, poor decisions. Let's look at four ways we report metrics badly and the solution to each problem. To create the examples below, I've taken complaints from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Problem 1: Not enough context This is a hard one to avoid because a lot of business people want a dashboard that shows daily data over the past week, or weekly data over the past month. There are times and places for such a dashboard, and usually it's as an IT quality control tool (or perhaps the launch of a new product). Even so, without context it usually makes little sense to present a week (or even a few weeks) of data. Take a quick example below from our financial complaints data. Showing four weeks of data may alert us to discrepancies, but it's just too little data for us to make much sense. The below is better simply because we're giving our audience more to ...

Conducting a competitive analysis

January 30, 2012  |   Marketing   |     |   2 Comments

Conducting a competitive analysis Some companies do not think about competitors, believing they operate in a vacuum. Others obsess about the competition, but in a way more akin to that ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend) you can't quite get over. Anecdotal 'sightings' of the competitor at industry tradeshows or chatter from prospects and customers force a company to realign their entire strategy every couple months. But this sort of retooling is only a manic reaction to perceived threats. Flipping out every time a competitor chalks up a success or steals a client is not a good way to do business. For a proper competitive analysis, you need to take a step back and collect as many data points as possible. Do not ignore your competitors by any means, but do not fixate on them either. You have no reason to change your overall strategy unless sufficient data tell you to do so. A sales person complaining that "they're stealing my prospects" is not sufficient data. What method should you use? Below are six basic steps to conducting a competitive assessment. If you would like a live report, Spyglass Intelligence is now selling a competitive assessment of the magazine publishing industry, from where some of the visualizations ...

The Economics of SPAM and Why it is Making Your Metrics Irrelevant

January 30, 2012  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

The Economics of SPAM and Why it is Making Your Metrics Irrelevant We have all noticed the explosion of SPAM since we started using email. The CAN-SPAM act slowed SPAM for a little while, but not long. In fact, the most aggressive emails we get seem to be the ones we want, Groupon Offers, Living Social deals and, most pertinent to our discussion, those that showcase content within our particular field of expertise. Direct marketers get an array of email focused around different marketing tactics, or the new webinar released by the DMA. Some of us are engaged in these emails, though I suspect many of us keep receiving them out of guilt, or some need to "keep in touch" with our profession without really doing so. Why do we send and receive so many emails? Because the economics of email favor more interaction. The incremental cost of sending an additional email could be $0.10, $0.05 or even  nothing if you pay a set subscription price for your email platform. The return on investment for email marketing is therefore extremely high. Just 1 response in 100, or even 1 response in 10,000, may mean a positive return on investment. Even in a demand generation campaign where 1 interaction only correlates to a 10% ...

Revolutionize Your Lead Management Strategy with Market Research

December 19, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Revolutionize Your Lead Management Strategy with Market Research Lead management and nurture tactics have become complicated, and measuring success more convoluted. Long nurture series contain infinite permutations to test: length of an email, types of content, how to deliver, what to send in different stages of the buyer life cycle, even the relative speeds of a nurture track. Segmentation rules can further complicate what used to seem like a simple exercise: passing good leads to sales to make more money. Market research can help you assess your strategy, discover what your prospects want and give you feedback on how you can meet their expectations. Surveys can be an ongoing exercise, interspersed different points of engagement to figure out how a prospect's psychology is changing while he receives your efforts. How can market research define your lead management strategy? Well-planned customer visits, focus groups and surveys will help you: See how a potential prospect views your product buying cycle Determine the attributes of your product among your competitors that are most important in a purchase decision Identify the content that has the most impact on a prospect Identify the means of communication that correlate most to moving your prospect down the path to a closed deal Uncover areas of expertise where potential customers view trust as ...

Lead scoring for publishers

December 05, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Lead scoring for publishers As a publisher you may be thinking, why should I even worry about lead scoring? Lead scoring is for longer sales cycles, where you have to think twice before passing a prospect to a highly-paid sales professional. Circulation marketing is about finding the right tactics for prospects, then converting those prospects en masse to paid subscribers. This view misses the multi-dimensional nature of direct marketing. Two conversion tactics may yield dissimilar results, with highly varying ROI and gross sales. The chart below shows three scenarios using three different direct marketing tactics... Tactic              Email        Direct mail   Telemarketing Conversion rate 2% 5% 10% Cost per piece $0.05 $0.50 $4.00 Cost per conversion $2.50 $10.00 $40.00 Prospects 6,000 6,000 6,000 Conversions 120 300 600 Subscription Price $50 $50 $50 Cost $300 $3,000 $24,000 Revenue $6,000 $15,000 $30,000 Profit $5,700 $12,000 $6,000 ROI $20.00 $5.00 $1.25 In this example email yields the highest ROI ($6,000 revenue / $300 cost), direct mail the highest profit ($15,000 revenue - $3,000 cost) and telemarketing the highest sales ($50 x 600 conversions). The obvious choice here is direct mail as it yields the highest net profit. But it feels like a missed opportunity to increase sales, if only you could capture that higher ...

Use market segmentation research to drive circulation

November 23, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   1 Comment

Use market segmentation research to drive circulation When you survey prospects and subscribers, you try to profile them, hoping to focus a message around what they want from your product. Profiling can also clarify your offering to advertisers. The more description you can give about your subscribers’ buying behavior, and the better you can slice this out by profile, the more worthwhile it becomes to advertise in your magazine. In segmenting your subscribers during a survey, where do you start? It helps to think in terms of the profile data on which you could act (or on which your advertisers could act). Basic demographic data like sex, marital status, age and income can be useful for large-scale branding initiatives that cover all households in a certain geography. But if you're a specialty publisher, you need to be more specific with targeted demographics like job title or industry sector. In fact, there is a whole array of data you can acquire through effective market research, which are not limited to demographics. Customer segments: Do subscribers in different stages of your customer life cycle value the attributes of your publication differently? If yes, develop different content for approaching customers who are prospects, free trials, have subscribed for 6 months, or for ...

Five steps to develop an effective magazine market research strategy

October 26, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Five steps to develop an effective magazine market research strategy As a marketer in the magazine industry, do you have an overall strategy to learn more about your audience? How are you leveraging your research to attract and retain subscribers, and to secure more advertising sales? Subscriber research is multifaceted, but we can break it down into four main categories: Research to develop a circulation strategy Research to benchmark customer satisfaction Research to sell advertising Research to syndicate and sell to your advertisers Developing your circulation strategy could mean many things. You may want to grow into a new market, launch a new magazine or develop a core marketing message. With many thousands of subscribers, you are sitting on a veritable goldmine of data, waiting to be collected. But first you need a plan. Step 1) Define your objectives What do you want to accomplish? This could be anything from attracting more prospects, retaining current subscribers, keeping subscribers satisfied, discovering new opportunities for content or winning more advertisers. Defining these key objectives will help you focus on the research that you need. Step 2) What do you already know? What sort of information do you already have, and what do you need to take action? Figuring this out will help you determine what sort of research ...

A quick publishing industry analysis using Porter’s five forces

October 11, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

A quick publishing industry analysis using Porter’s five forces Michael Porter’s Five Forces is a framework for analyzing the potential profitability of an industry. Over the last ten years, the magazine publishing business has ridden a roller coaster of profits and losses due to the push of information online, financial calamity and the advent of the iPad. But overall, will profits eventually be squeezed by better technology, intense competition or new entrants? The threat of the entry of new competitors How hard is it to set up a new magazine? In a great article about magazine startup tactics, Dan Wiesner talks about what he does to launch a new magazine. With an eight-month budget of $20,000, a subsequent 5-6 month budget of $60,000 and a final 24-36 months at $40,000, Wiesner aggregated a list of 50,000 names and ended with a circulation of 40,000. So in three years and a relatively small amount of money, a competitor can be up, running and profitable. This means that, for smaller magazine publishers, the threat of entry is huge. But larger publishers with circulations in the millions will have less to worry about from a new entrant. Their worries lie more with existing competitors who want to move into their space.

Defining your circulation strategy with an effective subscriber survey

September 26, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   0 Comment

Defining your circulation strategy with an effective subscriber survey When management talks about strategy, they usually mean tactics or goals. If your strategy is to grow circulation year-over-year by 10%, or to spend more on pay-per-click campaigns, then you’re not really talking about strategy. Growing circulation is great, but just stating that you want to grow it is a goal, not a strategy. Along that vein, investing more in search-engine marketing or direct mail could be part of a broader strategy, but by themselves they are just tactics. So what is a strategy? Putting it simply, it is using a point (or points) of leverage to your advantage over your competitors. A circulation strategy is therefore focusing on a core concept where you have a competitive advantage to grow your list of subscribers or attract advertisers. That core concept could involve your brand, various pieces of content, price, market reach or some other area where you possess a key competitive advantage. For publishers who rely on paid circulation, this will be a one-step process of targeting a certain profile, providing content that satisfies some real or perceived need, and positioning your publication vs. competitors so that it occupies some unassailable niche. For publishers who rely on advertising, a strategy can become ...

Types of Nurture Tracks and Types of Content

July 26, 2011  |   Marketing   |     |   1 Comment

Types of Nurture Tracks and Types of Content When you develop an automated nurture track, you should think about the specific goals of the track in question. You don’t want to send a series of emails to a prospect for no reason. But you also don’t want some of your prospects to be left behind with no communication whatsoever. You do want to have a plan for every person who fills out one of your forms based on who they are, what they need and where they are in their buying cycle. Nurture tracks Below are lists of general types of nurture tracks you should be using today to keep in touch with your prospects as they become ready to buy. Welcome: When a visitor to your website fills out a form, he has identified himself. He has said, yes, I am interested in your company, and I trust you enough with my email address for you to send me more content. Your first email will be the form’s auto-responder. If it’s not a contact me form, they don’t become a lead right away. But you want to stay in touch for as long as possible, not in an overbearing way, but just to let him know you’re there. ...

Latest News

  • 4 reporting habits that could sink your business
    With so much data, analysts have the power to explain, enlighten or confound. Unfortunately, with a lot of businesses stuck in old ways of reporting metrics, a lot of information ...
  • Conducting a competitive analysis
    Some companies do not think about competitors, believing they operate in a vacuum. Others obsess about the competition, but in a way more akin to that ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend) you ...