Data that’s fit to print

The challenge

Johnston Press is one of the largest regional media groups in the UK, publishing titles including Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman. The Group sells over half a million daily newspapers and over 1.5 million weekly paid-for titles. It also enjoys a substantial online audience for its news websites, with around 6.2 million unique users per month.

Johnston Press identified the need for a centralised marketing database to be available as a Group resource, both to drive marketing communications in a consistent manner and as a data source for new revenue generating enterprises.

It chose Alchemetrics to build and manage a single customer view to hold advertising and subscription data from its customers, along with promotional, competition, reader holiday, newsagent, travel agent, coupon, email, web and SMS data. Essential to the project was providing users across the group with access to the marketing database for data counts and campaigns.

he data management platform also needed to include processes for receiving, validating, cleaning and reformatting data alongside PAF address enhancement and database de-duplication to create a single identity for Johnston Press’s customers and prospects. It faced a lack of in-house expertise on how to use data, as users had little or no previous knowledge of query building or data manipulation. Potential users were also widely dispersed across the 40-plus companies, and multiple locations, within the group.

The solution

The team at Alchemetrics began by identifying all existing sources of marketing data within Johnston Press and developing feeds to load data onto a central database. The resulting SCV brought together nine widely differing data sources, including data from advertising, direct delivery, online shops and data delivered by competitions and offers (online, offline and via SMS).

The database currently holds 4.25 million individuals with, for example, 43 million advertising orders and 51 million email history records. An email history record is generated every time an individual provides their email details, perhaps with an advert order, when registering on a website or when entering a competition, so any changes to contact permission can be tracked and applied. Managing contact permission across all of the publications has been one of the many technical challenges, yet is essential to ensure robust Data Protection compliance.

Access to the database is provided through Alchemetrics’ Informa toolset. It allows users across the group to retrieve data, and delivers automated control over what data each user has access to, depending on which Johnston Press business “owns” the customer.

With Informa, users can very quickly select and count a target, then fulfil the campaign which automatically updates contact history back to the marketing database. Email campaigns are also delivered through Informa, providing a streamlined workflow from analysis and target audience selection through to email set-up, testing and broadcast.

Managing contact permission across all of the publications has been one of the many technical challenges, yet is essential

The results

Alchemetrics’ work has given Johnston Press access to an increased number of individuals available for marketing, with a larger volume of permissions appended. The database enjoys an active user community of over 40 individuals across the group’s businesses, each benefitting from the easy to use interface.

Email and mobile marketing is also now available, and robust data collection processes have been put in place, including a standardised fair collection notice, to ensure that contact permission is collected, stored in the database and then used in marketing activity in a fair manner.

The database supports advertising sales by offering direct marketing in addition to traditional newspaper and online advertising, and supports newspaper sales objectives to increase circulation and readership of newspapers and websites. Users can dramatically increase their understanding of customers because of the single customer view the database is built around, and reader offers and direct delivery of competitions can easily be achieved.

Newsletters and local newsletter lists are currently in development, and data sales are creating an additional revenue stream for the group. Johnston Press is also actively investigating projects which will leverage the new developments available with Informa, including the ability to dynamically serve individualised questions to web visitors based on data already held about the individual in the marketing data-warehouse.

Chris Pennock, group marketing director at Johnston Press, says: “This gives us the ability to see all of the activity of our readers and advertisers in one place, giving us an understanding of how they interact with us. By offering easy access to data over the internet to nontechnical users, together with an integrated email broadcast tool, we can use our data to communicate more effectively with our customers.”




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