From Insight to Implementation

Published by Dan on

My Top Takeaways from the INMA Digital Subscription Summit

I attended the INMA Digital Subscription Summit in New York City last month. A gathering of more than 200 media audience professionals from 35 countries, the five-day event brought together a wealth of marketing and media talent from some of the most innovative news brands publishing today.

While a key thrill for me was presenting – more on that later– work the Advance Local Customer Research team, which I lead, has done the last few years, the number of takeaways from three days of presentations was overwhelming. I filled multiple documents with notes, research ideas, and questions about what I heard and saw.

But I’ve been to these kinds of conference before. While I was treated to a firehose of information and insights, I can’t apply it all. In fact, truly, I likely can’t apply most of it. Roadmaps are set. 

When budgets are set and, in some cases, opinions are set as well, how do I derive value from this type of experience?

I look for a few key implementable takeaways. They should be tactically in support of current initiatives. Optimally, the ideas should be things I can control and implement which will improve work our team does or how we’re thinking about a known challenge.

The top things I’ve either already started to implement or am about to include:

The keynote presentation by Rajkumar Vanketesen, the Ronald Trzcinski Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, underscored how key it is for our team to be fully transparent about how we use AI to assist with analysis of open-text feedback. We just started to use AI for this, so hearing Professor Venkatesan describe the “Algorithm Aversion” and exhort conference attendees to overtly state humans reviewed outputs opened my eyes.

From the same presentation, I jotted down a research idea to dig into how readers perceive how customer-focused our website and app are currently. Do they have any concerns we haven’t captured when they are using our sites? If yes, what are they and how could they be mitigated?

In the presentation by Amy Wiesenbach, Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing with The New York Times, I heard her say most people do not understand what goes into producing high quality journalism.

That intrigued me. We’re preparing to capture subscriber testimonials. Could we ask key local journalists to both thank subscribers for their support but also to ask them to explain how they do produce their local journalism?

Not sure yet, and we’re going to explore it.

Finally, Filippo Davanzo, the Head of Digital with the GEDI Group in Italy discussed how they had embedded audience team members in the newsroom to inform journalists with data about their story’s performance. That insight challenged me to, when I work at the office, grab a desk in the newsroom to be more visible and foster unplanned conversations about customer research insights.

I acted on that change last week. It went well and resulted in several impromptu, productive conversations; good outcome.

How do you manage hearing hours of amazing, inspiring content at conferences when you return to the office to pressing deadlines? What’s your secret for deriving value from the experience?

Categories: Conference