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Episode 11

Why a Strong Data Foundation is Business-Critical

In this episode, Kendell Timmers, SVP and Head of Data & Insights at The New York Times, discusses how they have built a strong data foundation, personalizing paywalls, and the looming cookie apocalypse.

Guest speaker: Kendell Timmers

Kendell joined The Times from American Express in 2018 and has played a significant role in the advancement of numerous aspects of data scientist, analytics and insights work. As the first head of data for the cross-functional advertising mission, she helped design and build what is now the industry-leading first party data program that powers much of the digital advertising business. She went on to lead the data insights and analytics work for the subscription growth team, presiding over some of the most important data-powered advancements they’ve made to the customer journey and access model.

Prior to her The New York Times, Kendell served as the VP of Digital Capabilities at American Express, and held positions at ZS Associates and US Airways.

Episode summary

This episode features an interview with Kendell Timmers, Senior Vice President and Head of Data and Insights at The New York Times. She spearheaded the paper’s cross-functional advertising mission and built their industry-leading first party data program that powers their digital advertising business. Kendell is a data and analytics expert who has served companies like American Express, ZS Associates, and US Airways.

In this episode, Kailey and Kendell discuss NLP, personalizing paywalls, and creating a unified view of the customer in a privacy-forward way.

Key takeaways

  • The unsexy side of data, like definitions and processes, allow marketers to make campaign decisions and build audiences in a consistent manner.

  • Personalizing paywalls is all about striking a balance between letting your consumer sample your product and understand it’s worth, and then making the conversion.

  • Marketers can lean on data to serve as the foundation for emotion. Pairing your product to an emotional ad builds a strong connection with your customer and drives higher conversions for your advertiser.

Speaker quotes

“It's about keeping data from getting siloed into different domains where everybody's creating their own definition and having it all in one place where it's discoverable and usable. So that the dashboards that everybody needs to use to make decisions all reflect consistent definitions, for instance.” – Kendell Timmers

Episode timestamps

‍*(02:04) - Kendell’s career journey

*(07:51) - Industry trends in customer experience

*(10:41): Challenges in the customer engagement journey

*(13:47) - How Kendell defines “good data”

*(16:14) - How The New York Times is using good data

*(24:35) - Changes in the next 6-12 months in customer data

‍*(28:28) - An example of another company doing it right with customer experience (hint: it’s The Disney Bundle)

*(29:27) - Kendell’s recommendations for building your data foundation

Connect with Kendell on LinkedIn

Connect with Kailey on LinkedIn