5 Questions with DBW 2017’s Kempton Mooney

Kempton MooneyKempton Mooney is the senior director of research and analytics at Nielsen Book, where he provides market information and research expertise for companies with strategic initiatives in the book market.

Prior to Nielsen, he held positions at Abrams, Random House and Hachette, working in sales, inventory, operations, and strategic planning. Kempton holds a masters from the University of Stony Brook and lives in New York.

He is also a track captain for DBW 2017, where he has helped assemble the speakers and programming for everything analysis and reporting, and he’s leading a session on how publishers can best use data.

We spoke with Kempton about his session and track at DBW, as well as what he’s looking forward to most about the conference.

You’re one of the track captains for DBW 2017, heading up the analysis and reporting track. What has the experience been like?

The experience has been great! It’s given me a chance to catch up with some of the really forward-thinking minds in the industry, which has been very interesting, and to meet some new people who are doing truly inventive things. There are going to be some great ideas that come out of this year’s DBW.

As part of your role as track captain, you’ll be giving a state of the union address on the first day of the conference. What sort of themes and ideas will you be touching on?

My colleague Jonathan Stolper will be giving an overview of what happened in 2016 and the sales trends we saw there, so that will have already been covered. So my state of the union will really focus on what is happening with data and research—what data is currently available, and what are the new methods being used to extract data from it. So part of it will be to discuss what is happening in our industry, and part of it will be to set a foundation for the content that will be presented over the course of the track.

You’re leading a session titled “How to Think Strategically About Data in 2017.” Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be discussing?

My session is toward the end of the program, after we’ll have already looked at the way we analyze the book industry and the tools we use to analyze it. So in my session, we’ll review the insights and discuss how to implement them. We’ll take the best practices and strategies for dealing with both opportunities and obstacles, and think about how to make them tactical.

How can publishers benefit by investing more time and resources into data and analytics?

Investing in data and analytics is how we become enabled to make informed decisions. But like anything, data can reach a point of diminishing returns; you can reach a point where you are swimming in data and can’t extract value from all of it. It is important to identify the problems that need to be solved so you can determine what is the right data to use, and what the right methods are for extracting the most value from it. These are some of the questions we are going to ask at DBW, and we’ll be looking at the most current solutions.

What sessions and speakers are you looking forward to most at DBW 2017?

I’m looking forward to all the talks, so it’s hard to choose just one or two. For example, I know Cliff Guren is putting something together on how publishers can use cutting-edge technology like machine learning that will have an enormous impact on things in the next few years. And it sounds like Carolyn Pittis is putting together some really interesting stuff around content process measurement and change innovation. But the thing I most look forward to is just talking with the thought leaders DBW brings together in one place, because for me it’s the quality of innovative discussions at DBW that makes it a truly special event.


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