Case Study

Stop the Presses

Publisher Meredith Corp. doubles campaign rates with innovative analytics.

For more than a century, Meredith Corp. has been publishing media that provides 100 million people with inspiration to create rich and meaningful lives, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Parents and WOOD magazines. The company also has broadcast stations that reach 10% of the U.S. population.

For the past 10 years, the publisher has been marrying its legacy of trusted brand names with the most cutting-edge analytics to bring its readers and clients what they need, when they need it. On the forefront of the digital age, Meredith continues to innovate, making its business more agile to ensure it can readily handle ever-growing volumes of data.

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“It’s absolutely cutting edge. You plug in a few attributes about some folks, and [you’re] able to have a list delivered to a client within an hour.”

—Krystal Maher, senior systems engineer for Meredith

Future Thinking

The desire to increase online readership is motivating Meredith to engage readers in new ways. One of the first steps was to bring data in-house.

“It’s hard to analyze data if it’s not always onsite or up to date,” says Krystal Maher, senior systems engineer for Meredith. “Just having control over it and having the ability to update it on a weekly or daily basis, that’s a huge factor in being able to formulate better success.”

Since several of its major publications offer a corresponding website, readers can access their favorite content in print, online or on mobile devices—and they can access newsletters and other information. At the same time, Meredith is able to collect data about its online readers based on specific attributes and entice them with special offers that are relevant and timely. For example, if a mother is reading an article on parents.com about potty-training, the database will fetch the information stating that the reader has a four-year-old. The website can then deliver a pop-up ad for Meredith publications, or its advertisers or clients that pertain directly to that reader.

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Check out how Meredith uses the private cloud to gain competitive advantage.

Innovative Revenue Sources

Meredith has been able to use Teradata® Relationship Manager to enhance its list-rental revenue source and maintain a competitive advantage. Meredith has more than 100 million customers, and about 3,000 different data points for each of them, some of which are mapped. Meredith has a quick and easy process for finding out unique information about readers.

“It’s absolutely cutting edge. You plug in a few attributes about some folks, and [you’re] able to have a list delivered to a client within an hour,” Maher says, adding that previously, getting even a quick and easy list out the door within 24 hours could be a challenge. With its new capabilities, the company can, for example, map 6,000 cat owners in one county in Iowa if that’s what a client wants. “I can do it within a matter of minutes,” Maher notes.

Faster Decisioning

Flexibility in the Cloud

Although Meredith already has an astounding 3,000 pieces of information on each of its 100 million customers, the company forecasts fast growth of data. It wanted to expand its system, but didn’t want to take on more capacity than necessary in the near term. That’s why the company turned to a private cloud. It was ideal because it allows Meredith to stage a system that’s large enough for future growth, while utilizing and paying for only what is needed right now. The private cloud also provides the flexibility needed to accommodate spikes in usage due to retail promotions.

The program’s self-service element is critical to Meredith’s success and allows it to produce quick results. “Obviously, faster results mean faster decisions,” Maher points out, adding that sometimes there are fewer experts in the process, but not necessarily less business knowledge. The company still involves people who understand Meredith business rules and what the data actually says. The advantages to having faster results are myriad. “It’s definitely an additive,” Maher notes.

Approximately 350 users from across the organization, including external users, list analysts, marketing analysts and e-commerce people are using the platform. And with Relationship Manager, Meredith has been able to boost its number of campaigns to about 100 per week at all times of the day or night, which is about twice as many as it could handle previously.

“It doesn’t shut down,” Maher says. “People can schedule things to run or continue to run all night if they’d like.”

Scoop the Competition

Meredith is keeping itself on the cutting edge of a publishing industry undergoing major change in the digital world by leveraging its analytics in innovative ways. Whether the organization is delivering timely, personalized advertising to readers online, creating lists for clients in a matter of minutes or doubling its number of campaigns, Meredith is using its analytics program to capitalize on business opportunities.

Jennifer Niemela is the executive editor of Teradata Magazine.

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