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Why publishers need to improve value exchange (and how 3radical’s Michael Fisher does it)

  • 4 min read

If you work in publishing and deal with data, life is probably a bit noisy for you right now. With the changing landscape of data legislation, upcoming cookie deprecation, and Apple’s new requirement to obtain consumer consent for tracking with iOS 14 all competing for attention, it’s hard to know where your focus should go. 

Once you take a step back, you’ll realise they’re all essentially saying the same thing: 

The nature of your relationship with consumer data is changing. It’s time to move beyond asking readers if you can store and use their data, and start creating a value exchange where they proactively share information about themselves with you.

But that leaves a big question: how?

We sat down with Michael Fisher Ed.D (Executive Board member of 3radical, an audience engagement and earned data solutions provider; Board Member at TheCustomer; and former President of Yesmail and Yes Lifecycle Marketing) to talk about creating the best value exchange between users and publishers.

3Radical has an “earned data” approach that mixes surveying, offers and gamification to create a mutual value exchange, which is richer for both publishers and consumers. 

The end result is that publishers have more accurate and in-depth data, consumers get better service, and both benefit from more precise and personalised marketing. 

Facing up to consumer fatigue

A big part of the challenge for publishers is engaging with consumers in ways they appreciate. 

“When I started in this business, it would take months to get a campaign up. For a long time, we would look at increasing campaign velocity by 2-3% a year. Now marketers are running two or three more campaigns an hour.”

Multiply that acceleration with the variety of channels available to marketers today and the effects are quickly overwhelming for customers.

“Every channel is treated as an individual communication vehicle, each with its own team revving the engine to meet their goals. 

“If [customers] don’t see it on TV, they’ll see it on YouTube. If they don’t see it on YouTube they’ll get an email. They don’t see the email, they’ll get a push notification.

It isn’t just consumers who are experiencing the negative effects —marketers are seeing diminishing returns too. And it’s a situation where increasing volume won’t solve the problem. 

Serving customers more effectively

“Instead of pummelling them through every partner and channel we have, at 3radical we ask consumers directly how we can serve them most effectively,” Michael continues.

“We intercept the consumer as they’re coming onto the site and we engage them with some questions, letting them know that we’re here to serve, not to sell. Do we, in the end, over-serve and ultimately get better sales? Better revenue? Absolutely.”

So when a customer has shown an interest in a product, for example, a pizza, the website is able to actually engage that user about their interest. Ask them what their favourite pizza toppings are, when they eat pizza, who they eat pizza with, what sides and drinks they like. 

Then the site is able to offer tailored deals or personalised experiences, maybe even determine how to partner with another brand to create a deeper, richer customer experience.

“We see, through 3radical’s series of mechanics, increases in open rates of 200-300%,” Michael continues. “And click-through after the fact increased by 50%. As for the amount of time consumers are spending in 3radical experiences, let’s just say we’re measuring in minutes not seconds.”

By engaging with consumers up-front, allowing them to choose where to be reached, and respecting that choice, Fisher established a concrete value exchange for all parties that generated trust while enhancing the user’s experience with the site.

Less is more: first-party accuracy

Rich, accurate, and consented first-party data is the key ingredient for volume-appropriate, high-impact marketing campaigns. 

“You don’t have to get thousands of campaigns in-market to reach your goals. Sometimes you just have to reach a smaller number of people the right way. They’ll buy, and they’ll share their experience, so referrals can genuinely become a part of your overall approach.”

And it’s better for consumers too.

3radical’s approach doesn’t think of the value exchange like a paywall where the value is held back until data is given, but is in fact the method in which value is delivered. Instead, consumers providing data doesn’t feel like the old ‘I know I have to give you this to get that’ sacrifice, but like it should: an open, honest, mutual exchange. 

Publishers can learn from 3radical’s approach: Is there a way for you to bring value for the consumer to the fore in your exchange? And in doing so, could you find a way to reduce your marketing spend, increase its effectiveness, and deliver a better customer experience?

Whatever you implement, there’s no doubt that the time to integrate sustainable solutions that solve for the many changes in the data landscape is now.