Data mining for new markets

As scholarly article output has continued to grow at an exponential rate from emerging territories such as China and India, so author submissions to your books and journals have probably grown too. This makes it increasingly vital to capitalise on your expanding author network and all the associated institutional data that it brings with it.

However, sales into these new areas can often show less impressive growth. So, what tactics might you employ to address this disparity? Your first thoughts might be to work with outside agents and third parties to do the leg work by using ‘their’ contact network; you might choose to use local language speakers and/or telesales services; you might even go for locally hosted server networks. These can all produce results, but in addition, don’t overlook your own data when considering your options.

Whether you know it (or can easily get to it) or not, you probably have many sources of customer intelligence which can be applied to this problem. By using your data first, you can achieve better visibility of your customers and better control over the prospecting process.

1. Data, data, data. As a part of your everyday business of providing online access to content, what you have in abundance is data – data about your customers. This is likely to include information about usage, author submissions, subscriptions, registrations, TOC alert sign-ups and more. Now, more than ever, this data needs to be made to work for you.

2. Dig in. Once your data is organised and integrated, you can mine it for meaningful, targeted and qualified prospecting. Identifying institutions with high author submissions but low (or no) paid subscriptions may be one way to target new sales prospects. Other sure signs of ‘hot prospects’ include high numbers of signups for free alerts, or high numbers of ‘access denied’ events indicating unmet demand for your content.

3. Understand your customers. Crucially, you can establish direct relationships with customers, ‘old’ and ‘new’, allowing you to cater directly to their needs. Analysing usage and market sectors can potentially improve content relevancy, sales growth and retention. Adding the ability to cross-reference your institutional data with third-party databases such as Ringgold adds further value by enabling you to track your overall market share within new territories.

4. Take control. By working with your own enhanced customer data, you can get additional visibility of sales efforts and the returns you are getting from your sales expenditure. No more questioning whether your sales activities in new markets are paying dividends – you’ll be able to track over time all the key ‘health indicators’ of subscriptions, usage, article submissions, etc.

So, in conclusion: good customer insight means you are not leaving sales to chance, and can make the best use of your existing customer intelligence to help drive growth in new markets.