A data first digital strategy?

Every once and a while reading comments on a good blog is rewarded. I’m an avid reader of Alan Mutter’s Reflections of a Newsosaur. His recent post on Big Data is well worth reading.

To date, publishers have applied the same business model to everything from print and the web to the latest mobile and social platforms: Build the biggest possible audience.

This approach, unfortunately, is exactly at odds with the point of Big Data, whose goal is to connect individuals with information specifically tailored to them.

The quicker Big Data applications develop, the faster the large but un-targetable audiences traditionally delivered by newspapers will become an anachronism, thus limiting their utility to consumers and value for advertisers.

However, read the first comment from Pat Scanlon, the director of digital strategy and Business Development at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It shows a publisher actually embracing data, and no I don’t mean embracing data journalism. Scanlon outlines how some newspapers are embracing data to deliver better, more targeted content to audiences and better results for advertisers. He writes in his comment:

At the beginning of this year we adopted a “DataFirst” digital strategy. Being DataFirst means: “Collecting, analyzing, understanding and using data to create better customer (users, readers & advertisers) experiences – and improve our business insights.”

More and better data means we understand our customers better. If we understand our customers better, we can deliver more relevant content – both Editorial and Advertising.

If we deliver more relevant Editorial and Advertising… We will make more money via increased traffic, more effective advertising and being relevant in the lives of our customers.

If we make more money we will save journalism and be employed.

 Amen. This is one to watch and most likely to emulate. 

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