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A Technology Transformation That Fundamentally Changed One Brand

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Anytime you hear words like "transformation" and "fundamentally" in the same sentence you know it must be pretty big. A very loose definition would be "to change the foundation of something" and that's precisely what one brand did. And not just any brand. 

On the contrary. We're talking about a brand that is over 150 years old. 

The brand in question is The Economist and for many years it relied solely on its exemplary, world-class journalists as a means to generate interest, engage readers and so on. As Charles Cooper writes in an AdWeek post out today "It is one of the sterling brands of publishing, a must-read for serious people who are globally curious."

But just as Dylan wrote way back in 1964, the times they are a changin'. As Cooper adds "old publishing formulas that worked for The Economist and other legacy publications pack a lesser punch in the Internet Age." The sheer number of publishers AKA competition for eyeballs today is enough to make a long-standing publication sit up, take notice and realize that things need to change and quickly.

Stephane Pere, chief data officer at The Economist Group and overseer of the fundamental technology transformation knew that the journalistic standards were not the problem - they were as high as they ever were. The issue and challenge was getting it front of the right people in today's digital age. "We wanted to expose our content to new prospects because we believed that our content was the best way to attract them."

After loosening the reins on the brand's privacy policy to allow for retargeting, Pere and his team launched the technology transformation by implementing a Data Management Platform (DMP) from Oracle Marketing Cloud. Now able to use the vast amounts of data they had on their readers, The Economist utilized the DMP to truly understand its readers and their interests and in turn segment them while also tracking the types of articles being read on its website.

Moreover it was also able, thanks to the DMP, to take full advantage of look-alike targeting to identify and reach prospects, AKA non-subscribers. 

When the 12-week campaign ended the results were, as Oracle GM and SVP Kevin Akeroyd says, "staggering." In addition to quintupling its goal of achieving 650,000 new prospects, The Economist also added 9,500 new subscribers while Economist.com saw 1 million unique visitors during the same timeframe which generated an additional £500K in ad revenue and awareness of The Economist in the U.S. soared 64%.

And last but certainly not least, thanks the Oracle DMP, The Economist saw its acquisition costs cut in half. 

Keep It Simple

I am absolutely a staunch believer that marketers have a tendency to over-complicate things. If marketers just kept things simple and basic, their world would be such a happier place. It's why I loved the fact Akeroyd describes Oracle Marketing Cloud as "agents of simplicity."

"We know that the less time a marketer spends on managing a complex technology ecosystem, the more time there is to personalize the customer experience," he adds. "Data-driven marketing really has to be about using the insights you generate to activate and engage customers with relevant, real-time communications."

See what I mean? Simple. 

To learn more on data-driven marketing, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management

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