TRANSFORMATION THROUGH DATA
In partnership with
Team Data, The Economist
Who are they?
Established in 1843, The Economist has migrated from its purely print origins into digital channels, covering websites, apps, social media, audio/video output and online discussions. With so many media properties and channels, the company was faced with the challenge of how to tie together the customer experience across all touchpoints and understand how its users were engaging with its output.
One consequence of this was relatively few insights to support its media sales and product development, limiting the ability of the business to optimise and maximise revenues. Becoming a data-driven business was an obvious solution which would enhance engagement with both customers and commercial partners.
What do they do?
Across The Economist Group, a wide range of data stores were in operation, combined with external data sources. Creating an holistic view of its customer base and supporting customer analytics was clearly desirable, but this consolidation and enhancement of analytical capabilities had to respect overall business objectives, budgets, resource and skills constraints.
A five-year plan was drawn up which included an initial proof of concept (PoC), called reveal, based within the customer acquisition team. A centralised data store was created to consolidate customer information, leading to near-instant benefits in terms of improved business intelligence - real-time queries about customers, journeys and preferences became possible. When this was presented to the board, it triggered a wave of enthusiasm for the project that ensured REVEAL would continue on its journey.
For the media business, the unified customer view now provides information on which customers are visiting different platforms, supporting user profiles and eliminating duplication of activity across those platforms. This cross-platform analysis is also having an impact for the circulation team, which has gained an insight into registration, digital usage, conversion and retention. The editorial team is also drawing on this customer knowledge to set out its priorities, including developing features within the app and site which enhance customer engagement.
The new solution has provided The Economist with a platform that is scalable and flexible enough to integrate future new data sources. It is also supporting more sophisticated analytical approaches, including predictive modelling, as well as faster insight and data visualisation.
What did the judges say?
Single customer view is more talked about than realised, not least because of the technical challenges of combining customer and digital data. The Economist has not only taken this on with within a new-generation environment that is likely to be future-proof, it has also spread the benefits across the enterprise, including the editorial teams. For the judges, this looked like the complete package in terms of a transformation.