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In praise of John Venn (1834-1923)

The simple yet brilliant Venn Diagram underpins the marketing software used by today’s subs marketers.

By James Evelegh

In praise of John Venn (1834-1923)

Publishing is awash with exciting solutions which we can use to personalise and automate our communications.

Communication programmes which used to take weeks, months even, to set up, can now be set up in hours / days.

The subscriber journey can now be tightly plotted and precisely controlled, fine-tuned and optimised in real time.

Subs marketers have never had it so good.

I was at The Publishing Show recently and attended an excellent presentation by ESco’s Alistair Wood on the three ‘c’s of successful subs marketing – choice, control and communities.

He talked about digital wallets, onboarding and win-back comms series, KPIs, self-service and all the other tools publishers need to service and expand their subs bases.

But what particularly stood out for me was his extoling the virtues of a mathematical theory popularised by an English mathematician in the 1880s and how the logic of his famous diagram underpins much of today’s cutting edge software solutions.

Put simply – I’m no mathematician – take three data sets – in Alistair’s example, magazine subscribers, newsletter sign-ups and event attendees – and overlay them.

In general terms, where there is no overlap, marketers have two things to ‘sell’, where there is an overlap of two of the three data sets, they have one more thing to sell. Where all three overlap, you have your sweet spot – the space you want to nurture and grow.

All your messaging is determined by your prospect’s position on the diagram and this is the same logic that drives much of the super-slick marketing solutions we use today – logic popularised by a mathematician who died a hundred years ago this year.

John Venn’s diagram has stood the test of time. Its logic powers today’s software and it remains one of the best ways of visualising your marketing goals. No dashboard should be without one.

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