After a significant drop in billings for ProQuest’s dissertations solutions business, we tapped in to our customer base across several dimensions. We did win-loss interviews, talked to faculty and students, reviewed customer data and web logs, and conducted a series of webinars on dissertation archiving and discovery with 100 attendees. We also conducted focus groups for our library solutions and a new web analytics tool.
We were impressed with all of the things that we learned. Talking to customers and users allowed us to improve positioning for our solutions and it surfaced how they were being used for groundbreaking academic research. We improved e-commerce on our website for dissertation purchasing and made signficant improvements to our workflows. We also published more than a dozen case studies about how customers were leveraging ProQuest’s dissertation solutions. We learned so much that we ultimately decided to recruit a global dissertations advisory board. ProQuest’s dissertations research solutions business moved from decline to growth, showing an 11% improvement in the growth rate over 2 years.