What’s your excuse?

Publishers have no shortage of data; the problem is that in its raw state, it’s of little use. It needs to be properly structured and integrated. Is yours? Why not?

By James Evelegh

What’s your excuse?
John Cheney (on the left) and Andre Galinha of Workbooks

You won’t find many people who think that having a complete picture of your customer base is anything other than a good idea. So, why do many publishers soldier on without one, or make do with an inadequate customer relationship management (CRM) solution?

I was in Reading last week to interview John Cheney and Andre Galinha of Workbooks for a sponsored article in the next issue of InPublishing.

In their experience, excuses are many and varied:

  • good CRM systems for publishers are not affordable / available
  • we installed a CRM platform a few years back, and it went horribly wrong
  • it will be too disruptive and we haven’t got the time
  • we don’t have the in-house skills to get the best out of it
  • we are unique so it’s unlikely that any third-party system would be able to meet our needs
  • our data is too messy

Needless to say, John and Andre had persuasive answers for all of them, especially the last. Messy data is the single biggest reason to invest in a good CRM platform, not a reason not to.

Data drives all aspects of a publisher’s operations; how well you handle it will determine how successful you are.

If you were at the PPA Festival in May, you would have heard lots of sessions focusing on data.

Dave Musgrove, content director at BBC History Magazine said that data is key to optimising performance: “If you’re not using data, you’re doing a disservice to yourselves and your readers.”

Dennis Publishing’s chief customer officer, Abi Spooner, gave a presentation on how data insight was driving retention and yield on The Week, a title that has an average subscriber yield of nearly £600.

Joined up data is the sine qua non of 21st century publishing.

What’s stopping you joining the data dots?