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Data: having it is not enough

It’s one thing to have lots of data but quite another knowing what to do with it.

By James Evelegh

Data: having it is not enough
Talking metrics at the PPA Festival (L-R): Amanda Wigginton, Joy Talbot, Beth Clarke and Alemu Jack.

At the recent PPA Festival, there was an interesting panel discussion on data, entitled ‘The metrics that matter and now to measure them’.

The panel, which was chaired by the PPA’s Amanda Wigginton, featured Beth Clarke (Financial Times), Joy Talbot (Magic Numbers) and Alemu Jack (Condé Nast).

Three things Beth said particularly stood out for me and I thought I would paraphrase them for you here:

  1. Help your people make sense of the data. Publishers are not short of data. In fact, they’re awash with it and many people simply don’t know where to start. Yes, they have dashboards and fancy BI tools, but what they really need is direction. At the FT, they are creating a ‘metrics that matter’ framework for each department, which will tell everyone which metrics to focus on.
  2. Define your North Star goal. A single, clearly articulated and well-communicated North Star goal gives everyone a sense of direction. For the FT, the North Star goal is to maximise its global paying audience. Having a single over-arching goal makes it easier to identify the metrics that will help deliver on it.
  3. Make LTV your hero metric (assuming subs revenues are important to you). For the FT, it informs marketing budgets and business forecasting as well as all the myriad decisions that make up each marketing campaign. LTV is such an important metric that it helps determine the FT’s first party data collection strategy in that they seek out those data points that will help further refine their modelling.

Collecting data is essential and having lots of it can certainly help, but unless your people know what to do with it, they can end up wasting an awful lot of time for little reward.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.