XLIVE 2017 Spotlight Interview Series – The Confluence

The science of data and analytics is universal and may be applied to a wealth of industries and utilized in a multitude of ways. Today, we lift the shroud of mystery off of the world of publicity and digital marketing to dive deep into how data and analytics is fast-becoming an integral role in running a successful campaign on a global scale. We sat down with Russell Ward, Publicist + serial entrepreneur and Founder of Los Angeles-based creative agency, The Confluence, to discuss how data and analytics  is currently implemented into the company’s best practices and look ahead to how crucial an understanding of data and analytics will be in the future of publicity.  

Innovators in digital strategy, publicity and content creation, The Confluence has a proven track record of using data to drive publicity campaigns to the highest level of success.

How does The Confluence currently use data and analytics to their advantage?

Data and analytics have for too long been missing from publicity and communications, but this is changing quickly in the day of social media. For years publicity has been a service of smoke and mirrors and I’m proud of our firm leading the charge for our clients delivering valuable data such as reach, engagement and whatever additional spoils the campaign calls for (downloads, ticket sales etc.).

Which elements are most important in driving publicity/digital advertising campaigns forward?

Begin with the end in mind. Before any large expenditure or resources, be clear on your objectives and understand that the tools of communication that can drive your results. You must have a clear understanding on how to track results to see early on if you are moving the needle. And be honest with yourself — the tough lessons are better learned in the comfort of a boardroom as opposed to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into a massive campaign when they become much tougher.

Are there any specific emerging trends or technologies in the data & analytics space that you believe will be particularly impactful to marketers in the festival/live event industry? Which do you hope to adopt/implement within The Confluence?

I’m interested in how the massive aggregation of personal data is changing the way that we are marketed to, and how this might get over the “creepy” hump and on into the valuable tool that it can be. Depending on the access to the huge swaths of consumer data, marketers can get even more concise in how messaging and marketing dollars are spent.

Tell us of your best data & analytics success.

We we are all about data and what it informs from a communication standpoint. Based upon how many folks have covered your biggest competitors, we have a pretty good idea what a good or bad campaign might look like for your event. And based upon the average size of outlets that are covering an event, we can see if there is money being left of the table by not going out to small and medium media outlets to take the message even further. We help our clients move from target press lists of ten to seeking hundreds of individual outlets covering their events. They all add up.

Tell us the challenges you may face when manipulating the info data & analytics provides to work to your best advantage.

Well publicity is tricky when it comes to data for the fact that you want to give reports to clients in real-time, or the week-of, but there is no way to understand the lifetime value of the long tail impact made by a particular article as it continues to exist online. This very gap can make things difficult for both parties to know how to value press success for live events — but when this info is referenced by ticket sales data, a new truth can be revealed on how well a particular success performed in ticket sales terms.

The Confluence is the official publicity agency for XLIVE and operates as a full-service media agency that delivers best-in-class publicity, branding and content strategy to many of the world’s most influential brands, festivals, and artists. Look out for Russell Ward’s participation as both a speaker and moderator for various panels during XLIVE’s annual Las Vegas Conference & Expo this December 10-13, 2017.