In any business, actionable insights are key. Publishing is no different. Very often decisions are made while flying blind.
There are many reasons for this, the primary one being that correlating the data takes time. It has to be gathered from many different sources, processed and somehow presented in a way that makes sense. Without having the right systems in place this is ultimately a manual task. This holds true for the gathering and processing of any data, whether it’s sales data or data about how your titles are performing and represented in the wild at online retailers.
The reality is that unless you are a very large publisher, you won’t have a system that can process this data. Often the mere thought of the magnitude of the task is enough to put using data as the basis for your marketing decisions on the long finger. The cost of producing such a system is also prohibitive for most publishers, causing it to be filed in the 'nice to have, maybe someday section’ and forgotten about.
There is an appetite within the publishing world for dashboards that display useful information. It makes sense. Would you rather mess with pivot tables within excel files that are so large that they cause your computer to freeze, or would you rather look at data that is organised and useful so that you can spend your time taking actions that improve your book sales?
We live in a world where we suffer from information overload. We get too many emails, there are too many things to read, including rather ironically, this blog. What if reading this meant that you could be a step closer to having access to a system that does all these things and allows you to do what you are good at doing?
A customer of ours, a UK independent publisher who we hold in very high regard put it rather eloquently in a recent conversation that I had with him. "When you are doing manual work on a computer, you think that you’re getting a lot done but you’re actually just doing a computer’s job". That’s time that you never get back and time that you could have been spending doing something that really makes a difference to your business.
There’s also a huge difference between data that’s interesting and data that’s useful. In business, we don’t want data to entertain us, we want data that can drive results and we need that data yesterday.
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