One metric, relationship strength, is one of the most difficult to measure but is growing in significance. “At some point an industry standard will emerge for this,” Henry said. The only way to measure this will be to create a relational database of all of the different touch points a customer has, she added.
While a publishing company's relationship with a customer has always been important, it has been generally focused on the print platform, Okabe said. “Today we are all trying to be information providers and solution providers by offering a variety of products and services to our customers to help them be more sucessful in their business,” he said.
Penton is in the process of creating a database that includes names from all parts of the company where interactions with the customer can be recorded. “To this database will be added behavioral data, and then we'll really be able to begin to measure our relationship strength with our various audiences,” Okabe said.
Increasingly, the more a publishing company can know about its subscribers—the more information it can glean, the more details it can slowly attain— the stronger its position can be with advertisers and in serving individual customers' desires. Circulators have the power and technology to attain one-to-one marketing. And soon, it seems, that will be the expectation. M