But, what media companies are doing with all that data—turning it into actionable results is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. Here, min talks with Dr. Kostman about his new role, core KPIs and is there ever a thing such as “too much” data?
min: Why is a new role like yours so critical to a company like Time Inc. in today’s market?
Dr. JT Kostman: Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp has put data at the heart of everything we do. Every decision we make and every action we take. I’ve had the privilege of knowing quite a few CEOs and senior executives in my career, and Joe is one of the most impressive executives I’ve ever known. Thanks to his experience at AOL and in private equity, Joe has developed a rare capacity to not only appreciate but to fully understand the extraordinary opportunities that can come from optimally leveraging data assets, particularly at a company like Time Inc. When Joe became CEO, he was struck by the fact that, despite the extraordinary data-driven insights we should have access to as a consequence of the brand-first focus Time Inc. had maintained for 93 years, we weren’t taking advantage of the synergies that could be gained by taking an integrated, holistic, multi-dimensional view of our operations or our audiences. Joe created the role of Chief Data Officer as a focal point for integrating all that extraordinary data and creating a means for identifying additional data sources and partnerships. He has charged me with leading those efforts and developing and leading the analytic expertise we need to collect, cohere, integrate, analyze—and spin that data straw into gold.
min: How do you and your team serve different departments in the company – more specifically marketing, editorial and audience engagement?
Kostman: The common denominator of how we serve our internal and external clients is by providing industry-leading, revenue-generating, data-driven audience insights. In my first week with Time Inc. I told my team that I was going to greatly simplify their lives and that from that day forward, we would focus almost exclusively on just two things:
First, we want to know everything about our audiences. Who, what, where, why, when and how they access our content, love our coverage and are loyal to our brands. We want to truly listen to our readers, understand our visitors, appreciate our event attendees and accurately and deeply describe the preferences of all our audience members. We want this information so we can better serve our internal clients in editorial, marketing and consumer services – as well as our advertisers’ clients.
Second, our group is now in the business of leveraging the insights we gain to continually develop new products, services and capabilities that delight our audiences, bring additional value to our customers and collaterally provide additional data to help us know everything about our audiences, creating a virtuous data cycle.