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Nikkei Business Publications

Advanced marketing in the digital era: Rapid integration of dispersed data on customer attributes

Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

No ICT system that supports marketing is ever 'finished'. We'll continue to boost the effectiveness of our campaigns, using an agile method to evolve the system into the future.

Tomoyuki Narita, General Manager, Client Marketing Support Department, Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.

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Nikkei BP deploys a wide variety of media and services to communicate value-added information in cuttingedge and specialized fields. To ensure sustained growth, the company launched a new marketing system. The system was completed in just three months, thanks to agile development in close collaboration with Fujitsu. Together with powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools, it provided a unified database integrating data on customer attributes, previously dispersed across many different systems and sources. As a result, the new system led to doubling the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

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Responding to a changing business and technology environment

Nikkei Business Publications, Inc. (Nikkei BP) is the publishing arm of Nikkei Inc., and specializes in publications about management and technology. In addition to publishing printed books and magazines as well as digital contents, Nikkei BP is engaged in the development and management of various events including large trade shows and seminars. The company distributes around 40 print media publications with a readership of two million.The number of page views for its digital media offerings has reached 125 million per month. Many business people rely on their service for information on the latest developments in the economy and technology.

The Nikkei Group is renowned in the areas of the global economy and technology, and Nikkei BP is playing a central role in its media business. Media companies are under serious pressure globally, and Nikkei BP is no exception. As the world economy increases its volatility and technology advances in a frantic pace, business people want to access more diversified and specialized knowledge. Growth is not at all given unless they successfully address their readers' need for such pinpointed information.

Customer analysis for more effective marketing campaigns

To keep growing in the ever-changing market, Nikkei BP recently launched a new marketing system. The database was built on a cloud platform to aggregate data on magazine subscribers, digital media members, content browsing logs, and tradeshow and seminar participants, that had previously been scattered across multiple systems. It also enabled the company to manage those data in one stop. Now, they can use BI tools to identify the blue-chip customers who are most likely to subscribe to new media or participate in seminars. This helps the company to carry out more accurately targeted marketing campaigns.

Indeed, Nikkei BP accumulated massive amounts of untapped valuable data about their customers, provided when they signed up digital media or seminars. These include their names, addresses, employers, companies, departments, job titles and other information. However, because subscriber data, seminar-participant data, and browser log data were all managed by different systems, the company was unable to leverage those assets for targeted marketing in a timely fashion. Tomoyuki Narita, General Manager, Client Marketing Support Department of Nikkei Business Publications admits that, "It sometimes took us as much as a week to extract the data of customers who subscribed to IT digital media as well as to computer journals." He further commented, "Once the new system had been deployed, we were able to cross-analyze data on subscriptions of magazines, participation in seminars, and browsing of digital media. This enabled us to quickly create a prospect list based on the history of each individual's activity."

With the new system, the company greatly improved the accuracy of its customer information. Hajime Matsubayashi, Group Manager, Client Marketing Support Department of Nikkei Business Publications said, "We acquired twice the number of subscriptions, even though we sent just the same number of emails as in the past," when they announced the publication of a new professional journal in May 2015. To drive acquisition of new subscribers, the new system also allows them to use 'Look-Alike' modeling - creating prospect lists by identifying people who attended the same seminars or browsed the same contents as the registered customers did.

Using agile methods, Nikkei and Fujitsu delivered in just 3 months

But the impact on the marketing campaigns is not the whole story. What is more striking is the fact that the system was developed in an incredibly short time.

Fujitsu made a commitment to delivering a tangible outcome every three months in its proposal. Nikkei BP accepted it, and started developing the integrated database in March 2015. Implementation of BI tools was completed in just six weeks, enabling the company to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns as described above. In addition to the use of cutting-edge ICT such as BI tools, Fujitsu engineers with expert knowledge of digital marketing were assigned to Nikkei BP to swiftly incorporate the marketers' requests into the system. Nikkei BP and Fujitsu worked together as one team in the agile development, and greatly accelerating the delivery of outcomes.

The new system was updated in rapid intervals after the integration of database, and went into full operation in December 2015. However, Mr. Narita said, "this is just the beginning of our journey." Nikkei BP is going to extend the benefits of the new marketing system to about 200 marketing staff across the company. The company also plans to continuously evolve the new marketing system - for example, the enhancement of the integrated database and the functionality of marketing automation.

Meanwhile, the company has an initiative to modernize the existing mission-critical system that links to the new system, aiming to improve the quality of data for marketing analysis.

Customer Profile

Address NBF Platinum Tower, 1-17-3 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Founded 1969
Employees 770 (as of December 31, 2014)
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[ Published in 2016 ]

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