About a week after we launched the first Big Data in Practice e-newsletter, a friend of mine questioned why our team at Information Management was jumping even further into the big data rabbit hole.   After all, the term has become so ubiquitous, so vaguely defined, that any additional content on mastering and leveraging data — no matter how legit — was destined for deletion. Google the term, and you get 850 million results, including multiple definitions, scores of articles and even a risqué music video about a faux product called “Big Data Shoes.”

To the questioner’s surprise, I told him I couldn’t agree more.  As a former technology head, I still get pummeled with calls from tech vendors offering their business intelligence software, and I killed my “big data” alerts a long time ago after being inundated.   So when we launched the newsletter, with a monthly frequency, we wanted our readers to feel less overwhelmed, not more so, by highlighting the best examples of big data in practice. 

So what was the end result?   Our open rate was almost 30%, which is almost unheard of for a launch newsletter.  Perhaps more remarkable was the fact that we received unsolicited, positive feedback after giving our audience more content.   

This is the same approach we take with Info-Mgmt.com, which, in my totally biased, unobjective opinion, is the best site available for news on topics like big data, analytics, governance and cloud computing.    Like our strategy with Big Data in Practice, the goal isn’t to slam you with story after story, but rather to cherry-pick the best blogs, provide insights on the topics everyone else is beating to death, and ultimately to spark thought and conversation.  

Equally important, we’re very cognizant of the fact that business leaders need to ensure that large, data-driven technology projects show tangible ROI.  Talk to the average BI sales rep or consultant-who-benefits-from-you-buying-a-big-data-platform, and by the end of the conversation you’ll be convinced your business is flirting with bankruptcy unless it invests in big data.  The truth, of course, is many companies fail in this regard, often because there’s a disconnect between the expectations of the CTO and the corner office.

The good news is that success is achievable.  How do I know this?  Because we’ve experienced it here at SourceMedia, the parent company of Information Management.   We’ve had an EDM initiative in place for more than a year now and have seen ROI within subscription sales, lead generation and marketing.   Our strategy is constantly evolving, of course — and we have a long ways to go — but at this point our salespeople and marketers are drinking the Kool-Aid … and keeping it down. 

In the next newsletter I’ll elaborate on our experience within subscriptions sales.   Until then, stay informed, not inundated.

Reinebach is EVP & Managing Director of SourceMedia's Professional Services Group, which includes Information Management as well as Health Data Management, Insurance Networking News, Financial Planning, Employee Benefit News, and Accounting Today. At SourceMedia, he has held positions managing sales, marketing, editorial and technology.

You can contact him at adam.reinebach@sourcemedia.com. Read his blog at http://solutions.sourcemedia.com.

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