Why publishers should be more data-driven

For Sales and Marketing teams in publishing, extracting information from your data is instrumental to understand how to serve your customers better. Creating a strategic approach to how you collect, store and use your customer data helps you run effective marketing campaigns, get key insights into your customers and deliver the wider goals of your organisation.

How can you become more data-driven? Where are you starting from, and what are the steps to get there? One piece of the puzzle is about how you use your data. However, if your customer data is under-prioritised, siloed or inconsistent in your organisation, how do you start to transform your practices to push data to the forefront of all you do to drive your decisions and plans?

At Ribbonfish, we are passionate about helping publishers do more with their data and place it at the centre of your campaigns and strategic decision-making. This post will help you to answer some of these questions and find a path forward.

What is being data driven?

A publisher that is data driven has some key features and behaviours – and a centralised, single view of your data is definitely one of these. Data quality and enrichment must also be prioritised and resourced appropriately. It’s then by analysing and using this data that you can draw the necessary conclusions to make decisions and uncover successes.

Ultimately, being data driven is about the end goal; considering the questions you need answered and then structuring your data in order to find information and solutions to inform your approaches.

The importance of diagnostics

It’s crucial to start with a clear understanding of the current state of your data so bad habits or poor-quality information can be rooted out. Consider how bad the data situation is, how data is being captured, what data you really do need and, once you have it, what you are going to do with it.

As a starting point, marshall your team to look at particular areas of how they collect, store and use data, and ask them to report back. This will help you to seed a better understanding of where the company is at and what is holding your people back.

Where you are on the journey

From our years of experience working in the publishing industry, we know that many companies are not quite there. Do you act on your data? Do you use it to be predictive? Do you have evidence to back up your business decisions?

Considering how you use data now, along with what you want to find out from your data, is a good starting point to kickstart your journey and to drive growth.

Getting started

From laying the groundwork to diagnostics and finally using your data, this process is a dedicated journey that involves a series of steps so you can forge ahead. Consider these four steps to get you started.

  1. Rethink how you collect and consolidate your data and identify the problems that may be contributing to low-quality.
  1. Hone your data strategy in relation to what your organisation is looking to achieve.
  1. Prioritise what needs to happen first: the key to getting ahead is getting started, even if it’s starting small. 
  1. Place data at the heart of your sales and marketing approach. Build your marketing intelligence and market research, create bespoke campaigns, forecast trends and customer behaviour, analyse your position in the marketplace, deliver results and follow up.

Now really is the time to get started. As we see it, publishers should view customer data as a business asset, and begin to manage it by introducing sound processes, quality measures and governance principles. If not, it’s likely that your teams will be unable to support the ever-increasing demands from the business for immediate and better quality customer information. 

Worst of all, they will miss out on the opportunity to engage customers, create efficiencies and drive sales.

To help you on your journey, download our new guide for publishers ‘Building a More Data-Driven Organisation’. It takes you through how you can review, re-structure and solve problems with your data, shows you what success looks like, and walks you through in more detail how you can get started with the steps above. If you would like to know more about how Ribbonfish can help you on this journey, please visit our website.


Paula Neary is CEO of Ribbonfish, a CRM consultancy providing solutions and services to the publishing industry. Paula has 25 years of experience in senior Tech roles across academic, education, trade and STM publishing. She is an experienced business leader with a strategic technology background, is passionate about developing talent and leading effective teams, and specialises in understanding and delivering the right solutions to solve problems.

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