I’ve just returned from another great week at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest in-person gathering for the publishing industry. Over five days, more than 250,000 people attended the fair, but the real stars are the more than 7,000 exhibitors who represent independent media organizations from every part of the world – they truly are one of the media world’s greatest strengths.
Mainstream book publishers that create global conversations, information providers that help advance science , medicine and technology and independent regional organizations all create and deliver valuable content and information to their communities. The fair has always been about this content and is a truly global gathering of this community with many are there to buy and sell rights to books, magazine, journals and databases in every market, from big deals between U.S. and China to just-the-right books for Nepal, Columbia and Sri Lanka.
The Digital Shift
But this year, the conversation was also about how these organizations can maintain their independent voices and survive in the new digital world. The shift to digital products and delivery has created pressures from all sides. Customers continue to change how they access and are willing to pay for content, advertising and other revenue sources are under attack from every side, and even content is under attack with new sources of information and content appearing in every market.
Many of these organizations came looking for answers in Hall 4.2 where MarkLogic has its “Stand”. (A stand is what you call a booth in Germany.) This hall is home to the information providers and many of the technology companies that are helping shape the direction of the industry. This year the hall was packed every day as the conversation turned from content to technology and data.
Best Way to Connect With Readers
The MarkLogic theme for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 was “All Your Data” that highlighted a critical strategy we learned from our many customers in the space: to survive and maintain their independent voices, publishers and information providers need to go beyond their content and use all of their data to connect with customers, create better products and get to market faster.
MarkLogic stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair
This doesn’t mean that content isn’t important. Content is, of course, the core product asset. But it isn’t enough in this new world where there are many other sources of information, and sources of revenue are under pressure.
The answer is to make that content even more valuable by using All Your Data. This data includes:
- Industry context – the ontologies and taxonomies that define your industry domain
- Customer data – the complete profile of customers including connecting every touch point across all of your products
- Operational data, such as sales and product data, that drives the complete picture of your content.
Thinking about this data as another core asset, alongside the content, is a key strategy to maintaining your organization’s independent voice.
Media Companies Embracing Customer Data
The following companies that embraced customer data are seeing dramatic results. Here are two:
ALM Media Customer 360: This international legal news organization created a universal, operational customer profile that connects customer data from many separate products in a single system. This process collects information from more than 60 data sources, including marketing systems, registration systems and how customers interact with their content. In this talk early in the program, the team reports that using this data returned 600 percent more efficient marketing. In an update earlier this year, ALM now sees this data as making a business impact in content delivery and sales, including predictive analytics to make contact at the right time and across every type of advertising.
Mitchell1 Symptom to Component: To go beyond delivering just manuals in the automotive repair business, Mitchell1 mapped out the entire automotive supply chain – from diagnostics to scheduling to parts ordering to the actual repair and even billing. They also added features to enable their customers, the mechanics, to provide feedback and new approaches to solving problems. Mitchell1 was able to use all of this data to create new products that would indicate the likely components from just the diagnostic. Listen to Mitchell1 describe plans to use customer data to provide much more context around their content to both garages and manufacturers.
This strategy isn’t just for publishers, though one of the best examples every organization can learn from is from the mainstream U.S. media giant NBC and its SNL40 app. To create an immersive experience from SNL’s deep archive as well as new shows, the team at NBC Universal Digital created data to connect the fans to the shows. This delivers a tailored approach that Mashable called “nirvana for SNL fans.” This Gizmodo article goes into some technical detail about how NBC has taken input from users in addition to other data to show fans short sketches rather than entire episodes. Sketches queue up and app users quickly are able to “make a meal out of snacks.”
Writing on the Wall
We think that this message – Going Beyond Your Content and Using All Your Data – is so important that we printed on the wall of the Frankfurt Book Fair booth this year. We wanted to make sure that every conversation and discussion included this important strategy.
It worked so well that over the course of the show many of our visitors posed with the message, and with the help of Twitter we have started a mini-movement to get the word out:
Industry expert David Worlock (@Dworlock – davidworlock.com) says “Go Beyond Your Content” at the MarkLogic stand.
From the feedback we received at the show, Going Beyond Your Content is indeed one of the most important messages for the publishing and media industries today. It’s a key strategy, and I think that it will help organizations of all sizes and from all around the world realize, maintain and even grow the value of your content even in today’s complex digital world. More importantly, it will help you maintain that valuable and unique voice for your community.
Just back from Frankfurt,