I met the playwright David Ives last week. He had a Broadway hit a couple years ago with the play Venus in Fur, but he's probably better known now for his adaptations of old French farces and a very funny collection of one-act plays called All in the Timing.
In one of those one-acts, Sure Thing, a man and woman meet and a bell goes off every time one of them says something that hinders their getting together.
She's reading as he comes up on her.
Bill: What's the book?
Betty: The Sound and the Fury.
Bill: Oh. Hemingway.
Bill: Oh, Faulkner.
Betty: Have you read it?
Bill: Not...actually. I've sure read about it though. It's supposed to be great.
Betty: It is great.
Bill: I hear it's great. (Small pause) Waiter?
Betty: Have you read it?
Bill: I'm a Mets fan myself.
Bill: Yeah, I read it in college.
Today's push for data reminds me of this dialogue. The more we know about someone, the less that bell will go off, and the better our chances of getting together—or in this case gaining a customer.
At the SIPA Annual 2017 Conference, June 5-7, in Washington, D.C., David Foster (pictured), CEO, Business Valuation Resources, and Guy Cecala, CEO, Inside Mortgage Finance, will present during the session, Data as a Business. Whether you sell subscriptions, memberships, site licenses, one-off reports or other products, you can increase your value proposition by incorporating a data component into your offerings. It will be a chance to see how two owners create, position and price data products for increased revenue opportunities and higher profits.
"When Guy and I talked during our planning sessions, we were both surprised how often we stop ourselves, like mistaking Faulkner for Hemingway," Foster wrote me in an email. "Here's a simple example: When someone says 'big data,' the gut reaction of many publishers is to shy away. But, in fact, any time I hear someone from one of the big platforms or publishing houses use that term, I know they've just left the playing field wide open for me, doing 'small data' products.
"We're releasing a new product this month that has 200 transactions. But each is complex, subject to many judgments, and the supporting documents are very difficult to find. No one else we know of has them. My point is that if all I was looking for was big data, I never would have seen this revenue opportunity."
There will be more on data at the conference. Keynote speaker Nikesh Desai, co-founder and CEO of InvestingChannel, an innovative and scalable financial marketing platform that reaches more than 25 million readers each month, will address how to effectively use data to impact and inform your strategies across content creation, product marketing, and owned, earned and paid media.
"How you can leverage data?" Desai asked. "The biggest thing that publishers need to do more of is to understand their audience and customer. I feel strongly that you do that not by general demographic overlay and old school print marketing tactics, but by gathering all the sources of first-party data and marrying that with third-party data to figure out, 'who is my audience, who is my customer?' Then you can develop different revenue streams and products."
And also shape your content more towards your audience's interests. "Yes, we know what hedge fund folks are reading, for example," Desai continued. "And there are themes in that. We're studying traffic patterns of audiences across networks to create the best content—free or paid, doesn't matter. Content people should want to know about their data; there's a lot of value there to build the right content strategy. Google Analytics helps as well. You see patterns of placement on a page that indicates how people are engaging. There are so many data points that impact content and product strategy."