Audience developers' relationship with consumers is changing. Because media companies have an ever-increasing amount of information about customers available to them, a more one-to-one relationship can be established.
“The world is now one of instant gratification, and information is readily available from many sources. You want that customer to feel that they are your BFF,” said Jo Ann Binz, circulation-audience development manager at Quality Circulation Services.
Kim Clothier, director of audience development at FMA Communications, said she is trying to make that relationship stronger every day. “If our customer can't get what they want, how they want it from us, they'll go find it somewhere else. It really is that simple,” she said.
Neil O'Keefe, VP-multichannel segments at the Direct Marketing Association, said the main concern in creating a one-to-one relationship should be the message itself: “If your offer is relevant, and timely and addresses your customer's needs in a format they prefer, then they will view your message as important,” O'Keefe said. “It will be opened and read, and provide yet another opportunity to begin a new conversation with the customer.”
Overloading subscribers with unwanted information is a sure way to kill any kind of relationship, said Emelda Barea, VP-circulation and distribution at Jobson Healthcare Information. “If subscribers receive [too] many [irrelevant messages], they will feel that we are spamming them and will eventually ask to be removed from our list,” Barea said.
Technology can help publishers find subscribers who want to be reached. “Improved tracking and analytic techniques make it possible for us to develop more specialized relationships with readers,” said Elissa Tomasetti, VP-marketing and audience development for the Financial Times. “Our ability to connect more data points helps us serve them better.”
IDG Enterprises engages audiences dynamically by creating LinkedIn communities and developing Twitter modules, among other things, said Michael Friedenberg, president-CEO of the company. “These technologies enable a personalized engagement and help us to validate and improve our approach,” Friedenberg said. “This balanced mix of brand affinity coupled with deep engagement, creates a relevant one-to-one relationship with the unique audiences we serve.”
Quality Circulation Services' Binz said audience developers should segment databases and mailing lists into different demographic groups so different messages can be created for different audiences in emails and e-newsletters.
She also recommended tracking where readers go online, then sending them relevant offers, links and materials.
“There are publishers with the capability to send the reader offers and info based on where they have clicked or searched on the website,” Binz said. “I've also seen pop-ups used effectively to offer other products or archives based on the articles or sections searched online.”