Well established brands that have been around for decades have more than their share of data to sift through. Here's how Clipper Magazine uses SimplyPut to make data culture available to anyone at their company with conversational AI tools. Clipper Magazine advances data culture with SimplyPut

The team at the venerable Clipper Magazine has tons of advertising data to sift through to help them improve their business, but only a small technical team to help them do it. Their solution? Leveraging the trustworthy, AI conversational tool SimplyPut to multiply their efforts, and fast, while working to modernize the data culture at their well established company. Here’s their story:

Picture this: You’re the CTO of a smaller technical team. That means you’re also probably playing the role of senior engineering manager, site reliability consult, and you’re also the entire data “team.” In short: when your technical team is small, it’s important to wear many hats. That’s definitely the case for Jim Jazwiecki, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Clipper Magazine, one of the most recognizable local advertising platforms in the US, reaching over 60 million households with their publications. So when he found himself fielding countless data requests from Product Managers and Sales reps alike around reporting on the company’s data, Jim knew he needed to get creative to double his output. Outside of cloning himself, what were the options?

At previous jobs, Jim recalls setting up the data infrastructure, but as the data scientist, he remained a blocker for the rest of the company’s access to data insights. Jim explains, “My experience at other companies has been that you decide you want to be data driven, you build out your data warehouse, you build dashboards, you’ve hired data scientists, and now the data scientists are just getting random questions popping out of meetings. And SimplyPut solves that perfectly for me.” 

Needing to wait on data scientists to interpret and answer data questions slows down work not just for the person asking the question, but also the data team themselves as they get bogged down with requests. This scenario can create a sluggish data culture that can leave some employees wanting more information.

Clipper Magazine advances data culture with SimplyPut

Bringing on SimplyPut: the conversational AI platform

Jim found SimplyPut, a conversational AI platform that allows you to ask questions of your database in plain language. He integrated product data from Clipper from various sources, and started asking the data verified questions. He was pleasantly surprised to see it return correct answers!

That’s when he let his team loose on SimplyPut, to see if they could find the answers to their own data questions without his help. He couldn’t believe what his team was pulling together:

“My chief strategy officer and I were just working on probably the most exciting growth opportunity for our business, a profit and loss initiative that required a lot of data. He told me he would create a presentation and ask me to review it. During that process I fielded so few questions, I didn’t realize how much data he was pulling together from SimplyPut until I actually saw a preview of the deck,” Jim laughs. “And then I realized, ‘oh, I think he’s just been in SimplyPut for, like, ten days, just asking it questions, and I haven’t heard of any of them!’ And this is so valuable to me, to everyone. Right? Because he doesn’t have to wait. I’m not blocking anything. You know, I’m not getting pulled away from other work. So yeah, big fan.”

“We needed to elevate our data practice. Now my stakeholders get the data they need in seconds. Other tools hallucinate and aren’t usable, whereas I can verify the SQL in SimplyPut and trust the answers the tool delivers. This is the most exciting application of Generative AI I’ve seen to date.”

– Jim Jazwiecki, CTO, Clipper Magazine

SimplyPut has not only streamlined his workflow but has also empowered various team members to leverage data independently, thereby fostering a more dynamic and efficient work environment. Jim can swiftly validate the SQL output, ensuring that the information presented is reliable. This process eliminates the bottlenecks that typically occur when data scientists are inundated with random queries, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks.

This autonomy not only highlights SimplyPut’s user-friendliness but also illustrates how it prevents project delays, as executives no longer have to wait for the data team to provide answers.

Getting trustworthy answers to the entire company

The reliability of SimplyPut’s results is another critical aspect that Jim appreciates. With SimplyPut, the assurance that the SQL generated must be valid provides a layer of confidence in the data’s accuracy. This reliability is paramount, especially when the information is used to inform high-stakes business decisions. Jim values the consistency and dependability of SimplyPut, which significantly reduces the risk of errors in data interpretation and presentation.

“We needed to elevate our data practice. Now my stakeholders get the data they need in seconds. Other tools hallucinate and aren’t usable, whereas I can verify the SQL in SimplyPut and trust the answers the tool delivers. This is the most exciting application of Generative AI I’ve seen to date.”

Empowering other roles, such as Product Managers (PMs), is another notable advantage that SimplyPut brings to Clipper. Jim talks about how a PM on his team frequently messages him to say, “Thank you so much for SimplyPut. I love SimplyPut!” 🤣 (You’re so welcome!)

Previously, her data-related queries would have required creating Jira tickets, often causing delays. With SimplyPut, the PM team can quickly obtain the information they need, allowing them to respond to time-sensitive questions promptly. This shift not only enhances their productivity but also minimizes disruptions to the data team’s workflow, because there is a data culture across all departments.

Clipper’s strategic team also uses SimpyPut to create a tighter partnership with the sales team. According to Nicole Woods, head of Marketplace Development, “To date, and in spite of having all the data, we have not done a good job of telling sales about the specific areas to look for businesses that can bring more product to the marketplace with higher propensity to sell strictly due to location. And we haven’t told marketing about the areas where we have products to sell, but no shoppers to buy.”

From SimplyPut, Nicole was able to source all the data she needed to generate what are essentially heatmaps for all 182 markets, such as:

  1. Which zip codes belong to what markets, and how many buyers and email subscribers are in each zip code.
  2. Identify all the active businesses that have products to sell, or are soon to have products to sell.
  3. Find the physical addresses of those aforementioned businesses.

Nicole then takes this data to the sales team so they can easily target more qualified leads: “Each of our several hundred local-market reps will receive a visual of where we want them to look for more business that can bring us more inventory to the marketplace,” she explains. Using data to identify these cross-sections of opportunities allows the sales team to be more strategic in identifying new businesses with higher intent.

Nicole was empowered to get this data on her own, and wasn’t blocked by needing to wait on an engineer, “That’s actually the beauty of SimplyPut. There was no team involved in the sourcing of all of this data. Just me. Not a single engineer was bothered.” SimplyPut facilitates a data culture across all departments of the company.

Nicole Woods Clipper Magazine data culture for all teams

“That’s actually the beauty of SimplyPut. There was no team involved in the sourcing of all of this data. Just me. Not a single engineer was bothered.”

– Nicole Woods, Head of Marketplace Development, Clipper Magazine

Building a modern, data-driven culture

Jim’s approach to leadership involves infusing a startup culture into Clipper, emphasizing agility and innovation. SimplyPut plays a pivotal role in this cultural transformation by demonstrating the tangible benefits of an elevated data practice.

Jim acknowledges that while addressing core issues like system reliability and performance improvements might not always yield visible, immediate benefits, SimplyPut provides a tangible, “cool” aspect that showcases the power of advanced data tools. This capability helps him illustrate the trade-offs and benefits of modernizing their data practices, making it easier for the team to embrace necessary changes to their company’s data culture.

In essence, Jim’s ability to run Clipper effectively is deeply intertwined with the capabilities provided by SimplyPut. The tool not only saves time and enhances the accuracy of data but also empowers various team members to independently harness data insights. This independence fosters a more innovative and agile work environment, aligning perfectly with Jim’s vision of a startup-like culture within Clipper. SimplyPut’s reliability and ease of use are critical factors that enable Jim to focus on strategic initiatives rather than getting bogged down by routine data queries. This shift not only enhances overall productivity but also ensures that Clipper remains competitive and data-driven in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Moreover, the tool’s ability to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical team members fosters a collaborative environment where data-driven decision-making becomes a collective effort. By reducing the reliance on the data team for everyday queries, SimplyPut frees up valuable resources, allowing the data team to engage in more complex and impactful projects, advancing the data culture at Clipper to be accessible to anyone. This redistribution of workload is crucial in maintaining a balance between immediate operational needs and long-term strategic goals.

Jim’s experience with SimplyPut exemplifies the transformative potential of advanced data tools. Leveraging AI not only addresses the immediate challenges associated with data management, but also paves the way for a more empowered and efficient workforce

As Clipper continues to grow and evolve, the role of SimplyPut in driving this transformation will undoubtedly become even more significant, cementing its position as an indispensable asset in Jim’s toolkit.

Stephen is a SimplyPut Co-Founder and former data scientist and analytics manager at Atlassian. He is passionate about all things data and excited to be working on SimplyPut to enable everyone to answer their data questions.