Originally posted by ICv2

Data drives everything and information is power.  Today’s most powerful and successful businesses revolve around data or use it to enhance their services.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the comics, games, toys and hobby industries, data doesn’t go much further than how much a product costs and how much it has sold through.  Smart stores might measure how much space items take on shelves and whether they earn back the cost of the space they occupy.  But major retailers go further into it, including exactly who is buying what.

Politics’ Dirty Secret You Can Use
Here’s the dirty secret about politics: we know a lot about you voters.  Both parties have databases of every registered voter in the United States and their voting history.  By using that data, we know exactly who is likely to show up to the polls and who we need to work on and focus on to get to the polls.  But there’s more.  Based on your registration, and what primaries you voted on, we know if you’re likely to vote for our party.  Oh, there’s more though.  Within the past decade, this voter history has been enhanced with consumer data.  Out there, for purchase, are people’s demographic information and more, like the type of car they drive, what magazines they might subscribe to, and more.  These are databases are 10s of millions of individuals featuring billions of points of data.  By using that data we’re able to find and project models of who will support our candidates.  If you know that women who drive Hondas with children are likely to support your candidate, you’ll want to find more of them who aren’t registered and register them, and also get information about your candidate to those that are registered.  This is the modern campaign, placing voters in buckets and trying to expand those buckets for more voters.

So how does this apply to our industry?  The first question is, do you know who your customers are?  Do you know who plays your game?  Do you know who reads your comic?  Do you know who plays your video game?  By knowing this information, you’re able to find more people like that, and get the best bang for the buck when it comes to your advertising efforts.

45.45% of Comic Fans are Women?
There are three simple ways for you yourself to get this sort of data and begin your journey to success.  Two of these involve Facebook, which is much more than just a social networking platform, it’s a massive database overflowing with information.

The first way to get information is through the fanpage you create.  You’re able to see aggregate data of who your fans are including their age, gender, and where they’re located.  As a publisher I might use this to schedule events, focus on marketing, or follow up with stores which should be moving more of your product.  As a store, this gives you an idea of who shops at your store and that is powerful information.

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The second way to get information is to use Facebook’s advertising platform.  When creating ads on their system, the platform returns counts as to the target audience size.  This is what I do weekly at my site returning data on various fandoms.  At the beginning of the month I looked at the general comic fandom and found out that 45.45% of comic book fans on Facebook are women.  That’s a number much higher than anyone expects and questions conventional wisdom.

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The third way to get data is with an email address.  As a store or a publisher, you should be collecting email addresses of as many customers or visitors to your website.  With an email address you can not only get data through services like Rapleaf.com, but it gives you the ability to market materials that they might like specific to the customer.

Those are three simple ways to get started in the data game, and they’re absolutely required to survive and succeed in today’s market place.  In the next article I’ll start talking about exactly how you’ll do just that.

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