Big Data: Cheap MIPS and Bot Marketing
In 1992, Peggy and I sold our cranky little newsletter—WHO'S MAILING WHAT!—to North American Publishing Company and moved to Philly. We were hired as a husband-and-wife team to run Target Marketing. At the time, the publication was on life support. We saved it.
In the world of consumer and business publishing is a so-called "Chinese wall" between editorial and advertising. Under the doctrine, editors and journalists who have anything to do with advertisers are ipso facto whores.
In trade publishing, the Chinese wall is a load of crap.
We're all in this thing together. As the new president and editor, I traveled the country with editors and sales people to rescue Target Marketing. My job:
- Get my journalists to ferret out stories about companies and people whose products and services could make money for my readers.
- Make sure editors and journalists adhered to the dictum of legendary newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) who said: "Good writing is easier to read than to skip."
- Work with the sales team to pry advertising dollars out those suppliers who should be reaching our readers.
- Guarantee advertisers they were reaching the right readers who should know about their products and services and could afford them.
The taboo: Never agree to publish a story in return for advertising dollars. That is being a whore.
The Acxiom Conundrum
In those early days I made two trips to visit data giant Acxiom in Little Rock, Ark. Both times we were given guided tours of the facilities. One image etched in memory was the description of a vast underground dungeon filled with giant computers operating in tandem and churning out data.
I never saw these computers, because they operated in the dark. The only time a people went down there was to install additional computers.