Tag Archive: Best Practices


How to Manage Duplications for Clean Data

Posted October 8, 2014 by & filed under Fulfillment

Subscriber duplication increases costs to publishers. Managing duplications is an integral part of maintaining clean data. This is an important step to ensure that your subscriber file offers a unique view of your subscriber base. What are you doing to keep your subscriber base unique? What happens if you don’t manage duplication? What does it do to your budget and marketing plans? Consider the following:

  • Do you send duplicate print copies to your subscribers that get tossed in the trash?
  • Do you know your true target numbers when setting up email blasts, only to have duplicates filtered out by your email system?
  • Are you calling on the same person more than once, negatively impacting their experience with your brand?
  • Are you exhausting your subscribers because of duplication?
  • Are you considering the effects on a circulation audit?
  • Are you considering the impacts of advertisers expectations and the success of their campaigns?

Duplicate records can increase your costs, make you look unprofessional to your subscribers and advertisers, and impact your circulation audits. All data input into your database should go through a matching program each and every time a record hits your file. This should be done daily as part of any data consolidation regime.

In addition, you should run your full subscriber list through a matching program at least twice a year. This will eliminate records that slip through the cracks as well as give you an overall view of how unique your base is. To take it to an additional level, output your records based on zip code and manually perform spot checks to find records that a program can’t define and catch.

Using one way to match is not sufficient. Subscribers can match on many levels. Consider names being reversed or shortened. Match subscribers by phone number and email as well as physical mailing address. If email is your unique key of choice, set up rules around this and communicate your method with whoever manages your data so the correct goal is achieved.

Another good way to ensure matching occurs is to be consistent as outside data is added to your list. Keep like fields together and make sure the formats match before adding data to your file. Putting time in on the front end will guarantee the list is clean before it even hits your file.  All these actions will increase your ability to account for each subscriber once—and only once—and help you manage your costs and at the end of the day increase your revenue.


Collaboration Rocks

Posted March 20, 2014 by & filed under Database, Digital Magazines, Digital Strategy, Fulfillment

Collaboration is the fuel that drives change. World changing collaborations include Gates and Allen; Jobs and Wozniak; Ford and Firestone; Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr; and many others who have all made contributions to culture and technology.  Collaborations don’t happen overnight nor do they stay the same over time. There is a dynamic relationship that characterizes collaborators. Sometimes it is represented by success and sometimes by failing before succeeding (just ask Edison and Lincoln), but the focus is on the end goal, driving change toward a new world.  Wozniak’s computer would not have been successful without Jobs’ vision. Ringo’s beats would not have been heard throughout the world without John’s poetic lyrics.

Some of the most successful collaborations happen when customer and provider have a common goal and work toward reaching that goal in essence creating a partnership. This is mirrored in the world of publishing as publishers transform their world from print to online to event to information services and other engagement models. Publishers don’t just need, but more importantly they deserve, to work with providers that have experience with their struggles and know where they want to go. Wait, even more importantly, have been where they want to go and know what it takes to make that change, from the top down, culture to technology. 

Media owners need to seek:

  • experience with digital marketing
  • true experience with database marketing
  • true experience in commercializing new businesses / revenue models
  • true experience in managing a cultural shift

Ask the hard questions. Don’t accept providers who claim they understand your business, but have no proof in the pudding. Accept collaborators who seek to leverage each other’s capabilities to deliver a solution that is second to none in the market, or even create a new market. 

We will be happy to be your collaboration partner and drive a real difference in your market. Drop us a note at getstarted@halldata.com and learn how we do it.


Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio

Posted June 24, 2013 by & filed under Integrated Forms

The Yankee Clipper was always easy to find during his playing days, and even afterwards.  Whether on the field or off, a hitting streak or in commercials, DiMaggio regularly seemed to make headlines.  In 2012, the player who some argue was the greatest hitter ever, was posthumously honored with a USPS stamp with his image.  However, as a media owner, not all of our subscribers are as easily recognizable as Joltin’ Joe.

Data capture from multiple sources and engagement across multiple assets is a given for today’s media owner.  Capturing data and engagement is often done through forms in multiple formats, whether it’s access control or simply an effort to gather feedback on a recent event.  Ask any marketing manager or technologist at a media owner about their forms and how they collect data on their audience and prospects, and you are likely to get a slight eye roll, if not a full audible sigh.

From a technical perspective, forms are a relatively simple technical implementation.  If you build your own internally or use a third party provider, they don’t take too long to create and integrate into your site workflow.  I’d argue access controls and registration forms are more difficult, but the simple survey or feedback form is a quick turn-around.

Now let’s look past building and hosting the form and consider what we’ll do with all this new data you’ve captured.  You may want to enhance next year’s event or tweak your future content.  However, here’s the challenge.  How do you know who completed your survey, or who accessed your website?  You may ask who these people are on the form, but how do you know what other assets they engage with?  How do you know what magazines they receive of what newsletters they read?  How do you know if they are even an engaged member of your audience, or simply a passive reader who happened to respond to this one survey request?

It’s not always Joe DiMaggio completing your survey.  Media owners today must have one single source of record and one integrated foundation to hold their data and ensure it is continually updated.  If I am running my survey from Survey Monkey, a respectable form building application, what do I do when three John Smiths answer the survey?  First, do I know if those names are real names, next where do I append or associate those survey records on my file?  Do I know if two of the John Smiths are on my file today and one is new, or are all three the same person who completed the survey three times?

For this reason, we’ve built Dragon.  Aptly named for our easy to use drag and drop (get it, Drag-on) form building application, your captured data not only easily integrates with your master records, but it does so automatically, with no manual intervention or additional processing needed.  Your Hallmark Client Relationship Manager will set up all the integration on your behalf, or even leave fields out of the automatic integration if you are still testing a survey or demographic question.

A few valuable use cases of Dragon as listed below:

  • Automated Data Integration:  Dragon has the ability to automatically integrate your form data onto your master files.  At the marketing manager’s instruction, your Hallmark Client Relationship Manager can map all of your survey responses, or just those you want to append to your master files.
  • Event Up-Sell and Cross Sell:  Dragon provides the ability to serve “conditional” content.  Think of this as you don’t have to show the content when you don’t want to, and you can show new content when you want to.  Say for example you have a conference in Chicago in May.  Three months prior you are surveying your audience, who happen to be good conference prospects.  When a survey participant arrives and tells you their location is in Chicago, Illinois, or even the 4 surrounding states, you can easily redirect that subscriber to a conference registration page.  All other survey respondents won’t see this re-direct.
  • Progressive Data Building:  Of course Dragon integrates with all other Hallmark solutions seamlessly, but it is important to note that Dragon, as a stand-along application, runs from its own database.  This is important because you can create the logic within Dragon to pre-populate forms or recognize what data you have on which audience member.  Then you can use Dragon to present forms that gather incremental data for what you are missing.  Gather data by priority or by audience segment, whichever you choose.

Make it easier to find and aggregate your audience and prospects with one central data source of record.  We can’t promise your audience will turn into Joe DiMaggio, but you’ll be able to more easily recognize them.