An Interview with Ronda Hughes: How to Better Use the Data You Already Have!



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Audience development expert Ronda Hughes, of UBM Life Sciences, shares her insights on using the right data.

The big buzz phrase is “Big Data” and that can be big-time daunting for niche media companies. What if you could make big improvements to your business just by making better use of the data you already have??

We asked audience data wiz Ronda Hughes to explain–in plain English–about collecting, integrating, and analyzing audience data and behaviors to improve engagement, develop new products and grow additional revenue streams.

NMHQ: Can you explain the real, practical difference between big data and the little data? How can little data drive revenue? 

RH:  

“How ‘big’ or ‘little’ data is really depends on your market and your competition.  For example, if you are a publisher of a very niched business where the audience universe is difficult to find and capture, then any data you can retrieve can be considered ‘big’ even though it could be as simple as their business, function, title.  If you are in a bigger b-2-b market with a lot of competition, any type of data you can collect that will set you aside from your competition could be considered ‘big’,  like behavior or contextual data.  Little data can drive revenue if it’s unique, well organized, fresh, and respected.”

NMHQ: What are some ways niche publishers can better analyze their data? Do you have a real world example of ways to improve that will drive new revenue streams?

RH:

“In my opinion, publishers have to be careful not to put the cart before the horse.  Before worrying about ‘analyzing’ data, publishers need to first find out what type of data is MOST important to the advertisers, make it a priority to collect that data, THEN make sure it’s organized within a comprehensive database so that you can easily pull reports and actual list samples to show your advertisers the volume and quality of your data. A good example would be NOT to assume business, function, title should be listed at the top of your sign-up forms. That type of data might be easy to come by through appends, other internal sources, etc. When you have your customer’s attention, ask them the unique million dollar questions first.”

NMHQ: In niche media as a whole, what trends do you see coming in terms of new products and additional revenue streams?

RH:

“Publishers are using multiple platforms to push content since we all know reader preferences can vary in the way they consume their information and it could change throughout the day. A single person might use 3 different devices to consume information–so, responsive design is important. Publishers have been offering different platforms (print, digital, e-news, etc.) for several years.  Having multiple content platforms is important but has taken a toll on e-mails, causing fatigue and reduction in response. The trend I see happening is using multiple touch programs through automated marketing for both push and pull marketing. Making content relevant enough for customers to come to you will increase data opportunities and revenue. I believe we are in very exciting times as publishers!”

 

Editor’s note: Ronda Hughes will be leading the session, Forget Big Data – It’s the Little Data that Drives Revenue at the Niche Digital Conference this fall in Savannah.

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More about Ronda: Ronda Hughes is the Sr. Director of Marketing and Audience Data for UBM Life Sciences (formerly Advanstar Communications, Inc.). She uses integrated, rich data, to develop new revenue streams by analyzing trends across sales, marketing, and editorial to drive new products and maximize content.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau–Niche Media’s Grand Poobah–also created a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events: blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

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