Using databases to develop new products

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As director of database business development at Prism Business Media, AnnMarie Wills is constantly slicing and dicing information to serve up new products. Media Business spoke with Wills about new offerings.

MB: What's your focus right now at Prism?

Willis: We're trying to maximize the data assets we already have and create new products with them.

MB: How are you doing that?

Willis: Through circulation marketing efforts and by collecting statistical details for story generation. Our biggest challenge is to find new ways to repackage different streams of information for different customers. It's hard to know whether we should concentrate on the macro and try to take advantage of the breadth of our data or to focus on the micro-level approach and build out products in a specific industry or brand.

What we've done has been pretty effective from a profit-and-loss perspective because we're utilizing existing assets for the most part and utilizing our own technology infrastructure to develop new delivery mechanisms.

MB: Where do the ideas for new products come from?

Willis: We've relied a lot on the editorial staff. They're very close to their marketplace and hear a lot about customer needs. We have one product that an editor originated that allows you to use marketing research tools in various markets. You can look at [data] geographically or vertically. A wide variety of data?product sales growth, demographic trends, channel partner opportunities and user opportunities?are collected from buyers guides, Prism publications that serve the electrical-products industry, government sources and other databases; it's a matter of pulling together these different strands of information that to make the tool easy to use so customers can find the information they want.

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