Data offers tremendous benefits to news media companies, but one area that’s too often overlooked is its importance in creating a more customer-centric business.
“In journalism, we use the five W’s,” according to Riske Betten, digital director at Mediahuis Nederland. “If you leave one of those out of your article, it might be incomplete. But a colleague shared that we also have five W’s in data.”
Those five W’s are: why, why, why, why, and why.
By asking that question more often, media companies can get to the bottom of their problems, such as a technology hiccup, and find ways to please the customer. Data is also useful in looking behind goals and finding the appropriate drivers and influencers for each one. Then, there are indicators that can be identified to confirm that all these elements have fallen in line.
“These are the targets you will hit if you have everything in place. When it comes to using data, you need to get a grip on the chain of elements,” said Betten, whose company, Mediahuis, is an Antwerp-based media company with national brands in Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
Building a customer-centric business depends on listening to what the customer says they need. It can be done in many different ways, Betten said: digitally, through testing, or with face-to-face conversations. How that listening is done is less important than just doing it: “Thinking you know your customer is the biggest downfall because you are not your customer.”
One way to become more customer-centric through data is to make sure the data you’re collecting is telling a story to the teams that are analysing it, because “that’s what journalists like, and if you’re just gathering figures, there’s no guarantee they’ll use it.”
Make the data compelling to them, and they will use it to help transform the business. “It comes down to getting more information about your customer,” Betten said. “Whether that’s using algorithms, A/B tests, user research, or through conversations. Start getting closer to your customer and keep in mind the customer is why we are doing these things. We want them to be satisfied.”
This case study originally appeared in the INMA report The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation.