Data Analysis To Power Innovative Product Design, Marketing

Having worked at EMI Records for more than a decade, Chantal Restivo-Alessi is no stranger to having consumers strike a staggering blow to an industry by moving to digital.

Restivo-Alessi, now chief digital officer at HarperCollins, knows first-hand the damage a company can suffer because of its reluctance to embrace new digital models.

As head of the publisher’s digital arm, she has resolved not to let that happen to HarperCollins, and big data is playing a large role in her strategy, she tells Fast Company.

“Data actually has to impact every single function,” she says in the article. “It’s not something that impacts only one part of the organization. Sifting through the data is a lot. We’re really trying to find what buckets of data we should combine and aggregate.”

For example, Restivo-Alessi notes that many companies are considering social listening and how that data can best be presented to sales to impact the bottom line.

“Where we are making the first inroads is really allowing ourselves to acquire more consumer data – primary and secondary – and do it in a more cost efficient way,” she adds. “Also, we’re in the early days of then having a way of providing a digested presentation of the data to our publishing colleagues so that they can incorporate that information in the way they run the business.”

The company is also analyzing the data to learn about demand and set pricing.

“You start combining the pricing strategies and marketing strategies, with the findings on consumer insight, and that explains why brand x, book x, or series y was not successful, for example,” Restivo-Alessi says. “It was a shame that it was post, but it’s still useful and moves you forward for next time.”

Phil Kemelor, senior manager of enterprise intelligence digital analytics of Ernst & Young, agrees with Restivo-Alessi’s notion that while the publishing concern is now using data analysis to explain why a brand or book is not successful after publication, it would be more helpful to build that analysis into product development.

“I run across countless scenarios where the analytics is thought about after [product] launch,” Kemelor notes in a CMS Wire article. “The time to leverage behavioral and demographic data is in the design phase, something I rarely see. Smarter organizations are taking a product development approach and first assessing key audience data.”

He points out that customer service is another area where companies should be turning the traditional analysis paradigm on its head.

“Take the customer’s perspective to provide helpful content that can be easily found and referenced. Use navigational data and user experience testing to create a customer service section that brings visitors to their desired outcome quickly and transparently,” Kemelor says. “You could use data that you collect to improve the customer service significantly based on navigation analysis, user experience testing and internal search term analysis, as well as call center logs and session playback software.”

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