Like everything else in publishing, the role of distribution and fulfillment has shifted as publishers embrace new ways of reaching and serving audiences. This does not diminish the practice, however; sophisticated data-collection and measurement tools allow for more strategic, targeted efforts in audience development, upselling and trend spotting.
In its dogged annual year-end quest to find the best tips for publishers from across the land, Publishing Executive reached out to Joshua Sukenic, EVP, Sales and Growth Strategy, and Steve Crowe, COO of Hallmark Data Systems, for their insights into best practices in distribution and fulfillment. The following tips are exerpted from that interview.
Fulfillment and distribution information provides core data. Any publisher using demographic and behavioral data to choose and segment content needs to have this information.
It is critical to have a solid platform for collecting and homogenizing that data. Many media companies have built separate databases for events, e-newsletters print, etc., but according to Crowe, "you want to bring all of that together to get a single view of that customer." To be sure data sources are connected in such a way that information can be tied back into other data, publishers should have one central consolidated database, ideally brought together in a data warehouse.
Having data collected this way allows for doing high-level advanced analytics such as progression modeling. In this way, fulfillment and subscription data can help you to spot trends that might not have been obvious when looking at siloed audience metrics.
Because building a complete profile is the goal, do not distinguish between print and digital systems. "Whether it's online, offline, print, digital—you still need a fulfillment system to understand your customer and build your business around that fulfillment system," Sukenic says.
Fulfillment data can be monetized in a variety of ways. "Advertising is a top way, either through direct contact with a highly qualified lead or indirect contact through print or online display advertising," Sukenic says. "If you are generating a lot of behavioral and demographic information about people, that can be used to re-target with another division such as conferences. Target people most likely to attend a conference."