OX3 took place April 29th-May 1st, 2019 in Chicago. The speakers that presented during the event ranged from a variety of different media companies, all experts in various aspects of the industry. Throughout the day, attendees were able to listen to and gain insights on a variety of important topics. Some key concepts were drawn out of the presentations from the following speakers:

  • Jeff Litvack – CEO of Adweek
  • Joel Hughes – COO of Ensemble IQ
  • Matthew Yorke – CDO of Northstar Travel Group
  • Jessica Cole – CEO of Becker’s Healthcare
  • Linda Longton – SVP, Content and Audience at Randall-Reilly
  • Sean Griffey – CEO of Industry Dive
  • John Yedinak – President of Aging Media Network

Data Is the Future

The Economist stated that “Data is to this century what oil was to the last one: a driver of growth and change.” Anyone in any industry today knows that data is important and valuable, that’s not a secret.  However, too many companies are still using their data in inefficient and potentially harmful ways. As much as data can help your company to grow and remain prosperous, it can just as easily lead to problems. Take Google as an example, who was fined $57 million because they didn’t comply with GDPR regulations by not giving users the opportunity to provide enough consent and failed to inform them on how the data was being used. At a more micro level, your data can be causing inefficiencies in workflow and draining time and resources when it’s not handled properly.

Clean Up Your Data so You Can Create a Data Culture at Your Company

According to Joel Hughes, COO of Ensemble IQ, data culture is when brand strategy, content strategy, sales and audience management are all informed by purposefully meaningful data. In order to establish a data culture in any company, the data must first be clean, organized and trusted. Having unorganized, unmanaged, and ambiguous data is almost as bad as having no data at all. Using metadata and tagging that makes sense, as well as creating rulesets and classification systems for your audience members and your content is the first step to organizing your data. Having a stable framework in place will help to organize the data, identify and harness all aspects within it, and implement it into more complicated solutions such as AI and personalized outreach.

Audience Is Key, Content Is Key

Cleaning up your data will also help to provide a better understanding of your audience. Audience is incredibly valuable for media companies because it is comprised of first-party, unique datasets on consumers. The more identifiable and specific audiences you can attain, the easier outreach to them will be. Knowing exactly who you’re targeting, what their interests are, when they’re consuming, why they’re consuming, etc. is extremely advantageous. By doing so, you can provide content, experiences, insight, offerings, and education that they want to receive, rather than blindly trying to provide the information they want. The more audience members are fed content they want to read, the more likely they will be to return for more. This creates a cycle where the content will create an engaged audience, and the more engagement to track, the better the content can become.

An engaged audience also can be equated to a more valuable, premium audience for advertisers. Having certainty in who you’re targeting and specific information about each consumer is much more important than having a larger audience full of ambiguous information.

Identifying Unknown Users Is Essential to Grow and Engage Your Audience

One of the easiest ways to grow your audience is to target the consistent, unknown visitors that are engaging in your brand’s content and websites. Any unknown visitors are missed opportunities to engage in a personal way. Also, key learnings and insights on the interests and consuming habits of these members are being sacrificed because the visitors are not being tracked and their data isn’t being analyzed as successfully as it could be. Larger audiences and highly-engaged audiences both mean more opportunity for advertising revenue.

Make Your Tech Stack Clean, Lean and Simple

The market is full of different customer data solutions, providers, and services. Email service providers, customer data platforms, customer relationship managers, subscription fulfillment, automation services, consent management and permissions, data governance and so many more areas of the publishing and media industry are trying to be taken care of by different companies. The more martech solutions that your company has, the more complicated and confusing business operations will become. Additionally, data organization will also be more difficult to attain with so many different moving parts that have to fit together. Being able to simplify your tech stack and operating on as few platforms as possible will greatly improve efficiency, organization, and confidence in your data and your company operations.

Events Are Only Becoming More Important

According to Jessica Cole, CEO of Becker’s Healthcare, media events are in the early stages of development for the industry. As technology continues to advance, just like in almost every other aspect of society today, events will become more elaborate and robust in terms of offerings, information, venues, speakers, etc. Some rules to live by when planning your event are as follows:

  • Keep your event strategy as simple as possible. Remember perfection is the enemy of good.
  • Focus on making your event customer-centric. What do your attendees want to see? What is most important to them?
  • A business, its services and its event must consistently keep getting better, year after year. Don’t get stuck in what used to work.
  • Aggressively control costs where you can, and invest in areas that are most important.
  • Use digital/readership data insights to shape your event and drive success.

Keep Sights Set On the Future

Whether it be monitoring the media event landscape and where it is headed, how to implement artificial intelligence into your business structure, or tracking legislation development and change for consumer data, being future-focused is essential for having success. In a world of constant change, thinking ahead beyond the present is what will set your business apart and make operating easier. Doing so will also help to identify areas of opportunity to take advantage of, gaps in the industry that need to be filled, and ultimately will set your company up for success.