ALM’s management decided to grow from a legal content provider to a multi-industry information provider through acquisitions and new content, which would help the company maintain leadership in an increasingly competitive landscape. To best manage changes in the marketplace, enable the company to grow, and rapidly reap the benefits of acquisitions, the ALM team needed to invest in the integration and management of customer data.
In two years, the company acquired four companies, and their systems and daily data feeds needed to be integrated into existing ALM infrastructure. On the content side, ALM wanted to better create and store content, but also to connect that content with customers, thereby increasing its value and better serving both customers and advertisers. The ultimate goal was to deliver adaptive news and targeted ads tailored for each individual user.
ALM needed to first address the volume and variety of data. With data arriving from over 60 publications, the volume and diversity of content quickly became overwhelming. ALM needed a way to aggregate all of the content, so it could be repurposed to reach new audiences in order to create a larger revenue stream. Then ALM wanted to tackle customer data. With over 60 sources of customer data, ranging from internal transactional systems to marketing tools to external data sources, all these sources of data needed to be combined to create a single master profile that could drive behavioral and context-driven content delivery and advertising.
By connecting personalized content and creating a ‘golden record,’ we created various communities – an important component of our growth strategy. We could not do this through traditional relational databases.
VP of Technology, ALM
To integrate the content, ALM first used the MarkLogic database as a central repository for re-use and then moved to delivering content to multiple products and audiences using MarkLogic’s ability to aggregate content from multiple sources and tailor the delivery to just the right content for that product. To tackle the customer data, ALM initially looked at Master Data Management (MDM) software based on a relational database. After two years without success, the IT team applied the existing MarkLogic database platform to also handle customer data.
In just four months, ALM was able to integrate diverse data about customers including registration data, trade show attendance, marketing interactions and external data from LinkedIn® and other sources. With this data the company achieved its goal: Create a 360-degree customer view or ‘golden record’ of customers. This information provided the data needed for the company to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.
With help from the MarkLogic database, ALM grew its content business by creating tailored products, grabbed new revenue opportunities with new content distribution, and then increased the value of its content by connecting it to other data in order to create a complete picture of its customers. In fact, initial marketing efforts yielded a 600 percent improvement in efficiency.
Additionally, ALM grew online advertising—bucking the industry trend—and also leveraged the data through various means such as improving lead conversion and recommending helpful content to users.
In today’s era of demanding customers, agility is a competitive weapon for publishers. By quickly and easily integrating content from numerous resources with the MarkLogic database, the company can get to market faster than before with new targeted content. Additionally, by leveraging the data integration abilities of the MarkLogic database, ALM was able to more rapidly see gains from acquisitions compared to other companies trying to integrate various systems and content based on legacy technologies.
ALM cites MarkLogic’s professional services team as being instrumental in transferring knowledge and helping the ALM team capitalize on new features.
With a minimal investment in the technology, we discovered a 600 percent more effective way to match customers to events, as well as dropping opt-out rates for our B2B marketing team. We’re building products around our customers’ workflow and making their lives easier— which translates into greater revenue opportunities.
VP of Technology, ALM