Summing It Up


A nicely-executed press release from CreditCards.com hit my desk this morning, highlighting trends in credit card interest rates by category. It's interesting, useful and timely information, and it reminded me again that those of us with good data are crazy not to flaunt it. Periodically running even the most basic totals and averages from your data products can yield a powerful PR tool, and possibly a whole lot more.

If your database is relatively comprehensive in its coverage and is updated fairly frequently, odds are you can generate top-line statistics that can generate real news interest when placed inside a press release. Your statistics become even more powerful when you can show changes from prior periods. Statistics inside of press releases are like catnip to reporters and editors, because they are objective and provable facts. And trend data, especially in vertical B2B markets, remains in short supply, even in this day and age. That makes your statistics newsworthy.

As your top-line statistics start to show up in various media outlets, you accomplish a number of valuable objectives. First, you're identifying yourself to potential customers who don't know about you. Second, you're establishing yourself as an expert authority in your market, enhancing the value of your underlying database. Third, a percentage of those who see your top-line statistics will want the underlying detail, which you can sell to them at a premium price.

We bring this concept up with our clients frequently. Most embrace it, but there is also a surprising amount of push-back. The objections? "It's too complicated," "nobody would be interested," and "we're not sure we could trust the data." For those worried about complexity, you can get into this game with no more than totals and averages. Being able to consistently report change over time is where you primarily provide value - you're not trying to model the global economy. For those who think nobody cares, keep in mind that dependable data, particularly in tight niches and narrow verticals is not all that available. If you summarize it, they will come. And for those who don't feel the statistics they could generate would be trustworthy, what this really means is the underlying database can't be trusted either - a bigger issue to be sure, but one that must be confronted and addressed.

And while I don't want to overstate my case here, every so often we do find a data publisher with unique, current and significant content that is so important it can rise to the level of an index - something powerful enough to influence stock prices and that both economists and hedge funds incorporate into their forecasting models. These opportunities don't come along often, but when they do, they're big.

Put it in perspective, and you see that these industry statistics provide even more proof that "all roads lead to data," coincidentally the theme of this year's Data Content Conference, a scant 11 days away. And if you are intrigued about CreditCards.com, you'll certainly want to hear Elisabeth DeMarse, CEO of CreditCards.com, one of the conference's two special guest speakers this year.

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