Finding Your Most Valuable Customers with Data

Jo Henry teaches participants how to conduct a survey

Jo Henry teaches participants how to conduct a survey

At Nielsen’s mini-conference at Digital Book World 2016, Vice President of Analytics & Insights Jo Henry taught participants how to find authors’ most valuable customers. She showed that analyzing demographics, values, discovery behavior and taste preferences will allow authors and booksellers to maximize profit.

Henry said that one way to collect data is by conducting a survey. To do so, the first step is to create a sample and decide how many people to talk to. A normal sample typically has a population of 2,000 with people aged 18 and older. The next step is to think about what questions to ask. When brainstorming questions, Henry said, it’s important to consider demographics, digital and cross-platform behaviors, and participants’ relationships to books. They should be unbiased, clear and straightforward.

The final step is to determine the costs of the sample, which may include fieldwork agency and data processing fees. Focus groups, hall tests, pairing interviews with children, and face-to-face interviews usually come with additional costs.

Henry shared several case studies to show the value of collecting data. One case study analyzed the audience of James Patterson books, which consists mostly of older individuals who live in the suburbs, have no degree, and don’t live with children. This population primarily purchases books from ebook retailers but also consumes print books. They primarily discover books through in-store displays and recommendations from friends.

Another group Henry discussed was millennial women (aged 18-34), who are the main consumers of whole foods/vegan diet cookbooks, light psychological thrillers, coloring books and picture books. “These genres will become increasingly important in the market within the next 10 to 20 years,” Henry said.  

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