Feed the funnel

James Evelegh's editorial from today's edition of InPubWeekly.

By James Evelegh

Feed the funnel

The oil that lubricates the modern publishing company is data and if you’re not constantly replenishing your prospect pool and communicating with them with premium content and offers, then you will, err … underperform.

That was one of the messages from this week’s PPA Independent Publishers Conference in London.

It’s all about maximising the commercial opportunities through exploiting multiple touchpoints. Jellyfish Connect’s Carola York compared the annual revenue from a typical customer journey for a consumer magazine subscriber now to that in the pre-digital age. Back when life was simple, the journey produced £67.98 of revenue for the publisher (consisting pretty much of the subscription payment itself), but now it was £611.97 (the subs payment, the bundle upsell, the book purchase, the holiday booking, event ticket, t shirt, mug et al).

But, crucially, this lovely extra revenue is only realised if you are constantly topping up your prospect pool and communicating with readers and prospects in a timely and engaging (ie content led) manner.

For Motor Sport’s Gerard O’Brien, the cornerstone of their impressive data collection efforts is their longstanding Hall of Fame event, which they radically reengineered a couple of years back, by opening up the nomination and voting process to its readers, effectively making the event a year-round activity. At a stroke, they unleashed phenomenal levels of reader engagement, which they have monetised through increased subscriptions, merchandise, archive access, ticket sales etc.

Wild Bunch Media’s David Castle had a similar transformative experience when they likewise opened up their running awards to readers. This is now, he said, their “biggest single driver of new registrations”.

The lesson, so similar to Bauer’s experiences with Country Walking, which I wrote about last week, is that if you can find the key to unlocking reader engagement, then the commercial opportunities are limitless.