Chantel Carpenter recently took some time to (virtually) talk with us about her experience of building a customer-first strategy, and what she’s learned along the way.

Chantel will be joining us on Wednesday 9th June from 3 p.m. (GMT +1) for our Building a Customer First Strategy: the Rise of Customer Insight online speaker event for academic and scholarly publishers.

Register here to join us.

For a taster for what to expect from the session, read our five-minute chat with Chantel below.


Hi Chantel, thanks for joining us! Firstly, can you please tell us a bit about you?

I’m Chantel, a mum of two, living the homeschool/work juggle life right now. Passionate about bringing technology and people together, I believe in sprinting up hills, challenging the status quo, and making decisions with customer at the heart. 

What’s your background in creating and implementing a customer-first strategy?

Over the years I have worked in education and publishing I have improved online customer experiences, launched new print and digital brands, scoped and implemented wide-scale CRM, email marketing and eCommerce solutions.   

All of these projects have customer at the centre. Thinking about how customers engage across the entire customer journey and how we can improve that journey, solve customer problems. To do that you have to try new things, innovate with tech tools, have people with the right mindset,  but most importantly – know your customer. Have insights and data you can draw upon to solve their problems in ways that matter to them.

What are publishers missing out on from not having good-quality customer insight? 

Quality is an important point here. It needs to have breadth and depth. The odd focus group here or survey there will give you data, but not insight. Without it, there is a risk that we make decisions that focus purely on business need or internal ‘I think’. Short term is fine, but will not provide sustainable results or differentiate you from your competitors.

What is the main plus you’ve seen since developing this insight?

So many positives. It improves decision making, brand sentiment, customer loyalty, growth in share and revenue, but critically customer insight-led or customer-first strategies allow you to co-create sustainable value with your customers, and that benefits everyone. 

What is one simple thing you would recommend to publishers looking to get started with developing a strategy?

Consider what you know already and where the gaps are. E.g.

  • Who are your customers?
  • How do they group into segments?
  • what do they buy, where and how? How do they choose who to work with? 
  • What research have you done in the past? What did this tell you? 
  • How do you use this insight? Is it just a data point or is it actionable?
  • Look at your current strategy – what do you need to know to execute and be successful? Where are the data gaps? 
  • Idea generation – how you can fill those gaps?

Chantel Carpenter has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry across Academic, STM (Elsevier) and Education sectors (Heinemann & Pearson). A strategic, hands-on transformation leader, passionate about connecting technology, people and processes to maximize digital marketing channels, optimise data to drive decision-making, putting customer insight at the heart. Chantel has a track record of simplifying go-to-market strategies and enhancing customer experience to drive business growth. @chantscarp