We recently had a conversation internally about how much data to collect from a user when they sign up for a free product. If you’re trying to convert a free website visitor into an email subscriber, less is more. The less fields you ask them to fill out, the more likely they are to sign up. If you need to collect more data, like an address for direct mail, then you should. However, don’t collect data you don’t use.
FOLIO recently interviewed Ronda Hughes, Director of Audience Data at Advanstar Communications, Inc. about the challenges of having more data than you know what to do with (all kinds of data!) If you can sift through the jargon, Hughes has some good points here:
“I think we solved the biggest challenge of using our audience data by developing an integrated database. Now that all the data is has been integrated, it’s much easier to use by marketing, audience development, and sales. Now that we have an integrated system that has an on-the-fly segmentation tool, we are using the data more often and a lot smarter.”
In other words, they’ve learned to organize the data they collect and they know how they can use it now. For example, if you collect an email address, it’s being used by your daily editor to send an email. If you collect a first name, it’s probably also being used by that daily editor in a personalized promotion. But if you collect an address, it’s being used by the marketing department who sends direct mail. If you’re collecting a phone number, then that goes through the sales department.
“The biggest challenge when it comes to audience data is handling the volume in an efficient manner without sacrificing data quality. Just processing a mountain of data is not enough, you need to be able to draw actionable insights that mesh with your corporate objectives in a scalable, measurable manner,” says Tony Napoleone, Director of Audience Development at Bobit Business Media.
This could easily be an article on how to say everything and nothing at all with too much jargon (it’s OK, data talk is hard to translate), but let me explain. Here on planet earth he’s basically saying that if you collect data, do something with it.