Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Asja Dupanović
Živa Prelog is a scientist who predicts the future. For nine years now, she has been successfully combining knowledge from psychology and statistics to shape models which can anticipate customer behaviour, both online and offline. In her search of solutions, she is driven by data-based decision-making process and is extremely successful in giving proper directions to teams planning digital appearances of clients.
In addition to her doctoral studies, at the Renderspace digital agency, which is part of Pristop family, Živa is a member of a multidisciplinary team of talented experts who use their extraordinary knowledge and experience to change the approach to strategic planning and development of more efficient methods to solve business challenges for clients.
MM: What attracted you to start working in the communications industry? How did it fit into your passion for psychology, statistics, numbers…?
Živa Prelog: I remember, when I was a kid, I would enthusiastically watch billboards along the road and set up a scale to evaluate them, which ranged from good to bad. Those were my favourite games in childhood, despite the fact that they were quite boring to most of my peers :) In my teenage age, I was constantly haunted by the desire to understand why some ads were effective and others not. That’s how I found myself in the studies of psychology and statistics. Although I have learned through studies and practice that there are no simple recipes for success, the integration of knowledge in statistics and psychology has enabled me to gain a deep insight into the behaviour of consumers. It could be said that understanding consumers, in every sense of that word, has become my life-long mission. Today I research such issues both in my work and at the faculty, where I’m completing my doctoral studies in the field of information and communication technologies. We live in a time when interesting social changes are taking place. The development and advancement of new technologies give us endless possibilities in analysing data and making better decisions – better not just for companies, but for consumers as well.
MM: You are head of the digital analytics and research department at Renderspace. What does that mean in practice? What is your primary task in the agency?
Živa Prelog: I have two main roles. One is analytical-research, and the other is strategic. Within the first role, my job and mission is to ask the right questions and seek answers which will help the client and the team in addressing business challenges through different research approaches, from classical research to data mining.
As part of our strategic task, we are mainly engaged in defining and evaluating customers’ consumer journey. Using data and behaviour profiling, we identify the meaning of individual experiential points, we use models to map the consumer journey for each target group, and we prepare guidelines based on which – together with other experts from different communication and advisory departments of Pristop group – we first (re)define business processes of the client online and offline, and optimize overall market communications or create integrated marketing campaigns. The starting point for preparing all business and creative strategies, all texts published on websites and social media, is actually in the data.
MM: Your job very much seems like prediction of future. How big of a responsibility do you feel when standing in front of a client with only numbers in your hands?
Živa Prelog: Responsibility is always great, because we are the ones who have the power to determine the direction of the final solutions. We can thus also be the main culprits if something doesn’t go as planned. It is true that analytics and research, unlike creativity and design, are much more tangible and demonstrable, so our advantage is that we adopt and argue our conclusions and decisions based on reliable data. I firmly believe that in the future, the process of planning the overall consumer journey will become the starting point and the source of all further decisions in the business consulting process. Proper use of large amounts of data makes it possible to make informed decisions which significantly increase the chances of success and allow for upgrades and error analysis.
MM: What is the greatest challenge you daily face?
Živa Prelog: Probably the greatest challenge is still the need to convince clients of the importance of collecting and interpreting data. Access to good databases is an exception rather than a rule, so we are often forced to come to the information we need in different ways (ie. qualitative research).
MM: What can we expect from the consumer of the future?
Živa Prelog: Consumers are changing, and the degree of intensity of these changes is comparable to the scale of technological development. We can expect the digital world to penetrate even more into our lives, even though it already seems that we can no longer live without the Internet. This will place new challenges before companies, which will, on one hand, become invisible if not present online and, on the other, have to become more innovative and more advanced if they wish to achieve certain success in the market. In 2009, McKinsey noted that consumer habits and decision making have dramatically changed due to advancement of new technologies and easier access to information. What we will see in the future will even further affect consumers and how they make decisions. It will be important for us to be able to recognize the needs of our customers and adapt to them.
MM: How do you see the future of communication with customers?
Živa Prelog: Communication is already becoming more and more personalized and I believe this will be even more the case in the future. Companies will have to adapt their communication at an individual level and will be forced to use technology for advanced knowledge. However, in my opinion, the main challenge will be to keep all these adaptations of communication within the company’s umbrella marketing strategy. Micro level adjustments can affect the loss of focus on the higher level.
MM: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in these years of dealing with analytics and research?
Živa Prelog: My mentors and leaders, who help me understand the client’s challenges in one way or another, are the most valuable source of knowledge for me. It is often the case that a client is certain what their problem is, and what should be the solution, but when you look at the problem from another angle, you realize that addressing these challenges should be tackled in a completely different way. Here I am, first and foremost, talking about the fact that clients can come up with ideas, for example about what campaigns they like and wish to have, but they are not thinking about how such a campaign would fit into their marketing ecosystem and what will they really get from it.
MM: Would you recommend your younger colleagues, fresh from the studies, to pursue a career like yours?
Živa Prelog: Data science is rapidly developing, and new technologies enable almost endless possibilities for processing and use of data. Analytics, in my mind, is the profession of the future, because, on the one hand, it is increasingly desirable, and on the other hand it is becoming more and more interesting. New questions and new approaches are appearing daily, helping us better understand the environment in which we as a marketing profession operate.
MM: What are your passions outside the agency?
Živa Prelog: It used to be swimming, now it is any sport in the nature, where I can relax and disconnect from the everyday life.