An analytics tool bridges the cultural divide

Nu Skin promotes global growth with the adoption of a standardized tool

ChallengeUse promotional analytics to make fast, reliable decisions around the globe by standardizing analytics processes, in spite of the wide range of language and technical skills possessed by the company’s regional analysts.
SolutionDevelop an intuitive, easy-to-use tool to facilitate control group selection and analyze promotional uplift. Nu Skin developed an interactive JMP® environment in eight months from concept to implementation.
ResultsToday, this JMP tool is used to perform product promotions analytics, thereby improving service and growth in regions throughout the world.

Nu Skin develops and sells personal care products and dietary supplements in 54 markets worldwide. And its team of analysts working around the globe in these markets is representative of that diversity. To meet the sales challenges of a global operation, however, analysts needed to overcome barriers posed by language, culture, technical expertise and geography.  

Brian Eastwood, a market analyst for Nu Skin, was charged with standardizing the company’s global analytics so as to obtain a more accurate baseline on promotional processes spanning all regions—no small task for a company whose international reach was so broad.

Developing a new companywide standard

Nu Skin’s strategic goal? To improve service and growth in regions throughout the world by encouraging analytics-driven decision making. To support this focus on evidence-based business strategy, Nu Skin hoped to roll out an analytical toolkit with which regional groups might begin performing promotional analyses on their own.  

Specifically, Eastwood sought to develop a tool to facilitate control group selection and analyze promotional uplift, partnering with Brigham Young University to develop an interactive JMP environment. With this approach, he hoped to leverage the user friendliness and visualization capabilities of JMP to allow users to gain actionable insights from even complex data sets.

Catering to all levels of analytics expertise and language ability

But with global operations come added challenges. Building a standardized tool for an international team meant Nu Skin had to take into account regional nuances, colloquialisms and most of all, language barriers. After all, not all of Nu Skin’s analysts worldwide are proficient English language speakers. So whilst stakeholders made the decision to develop the tool in the company’s official language, English, they sought to make it visually intuitive in such a way that textual labels would not be necessary.

“So long as Nu Skin’s analysts learn the right sequence of buttons to click,” Eastwood says, “they almost don’t need to know the English words. The tool doesn’t require English proficiency. The buttons do all the work.”  

A second challenge? Many regional analysts at Nu Skin had limited experience in data analytics, while some came to the team with graduate level education in a technical field. “We have quite the range of skills on our team,” Eastwood explains, “but the thing that connects us all is an understanding of our business objectives and the right mindset. Still, we needed a tool that was more visual, and that’s why we use JMP.”

More accurate promotions analytics

Before Nu Skin developed its standardized tool, the company’s promotions analytics suffered from a huge variance in quality due to the many different evaluation methods undertaken within the organization. Today, however, Nu Skin regional analysts have confidence in their visualizations and outputs. Their results are valid. So the findings they present to their bosses are also valid.  

“The Nu Skin/JMP tool was an absolute turning point for me,” says Georgia Alevizopoulou, a Nu Skin regional analyst based in Belgium. “Using the JMP tool has greatly diminished the portion of my workload devoted to tedious standard analyses… and enables me to achieve a more reliable output. Moreover, the interactive plots have helped me a lot by providing a better visualization of the data, making it easier to communicate results or illustrate presentations.

We now have a more effective and efficient way of working, obtaining and sharing knowledge and ensuring that a unified analytical approach is used across the regions.”

Nu Skin is reaping other benefits as well. Today its analytics processes are simplified, faster and easier. Before the adoption of the new JMP tool, analysts only had time to run analyses once or twice a year at most. Now they’re able to conduct promotional analyses once a week or even within a day.  

Supporting an ongoing global partnership

The Global Analytics Council at Nu Skin meets quarterly to present and share recent promotional analyses. By doing so, the group reaps the benefit of candid feedback from colleagues with diverse perspectives. And regional analysts are now paired with a corporate analyst as a support partner. “These quarterly case studies help everybody up their game a little bit,” says Eastwood. “So everyone continues to learn.”

During training, we go through the process three times and the analysts can do it by themselves.... The JMP tool doesn’t require English [language proficiency]—the buttons do all the work.
Brian Eastwood

Nu Skin

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Eastwood’s 3 keys to a global company’s successful use of analytics 

1. Support from C-level stakeholders

You’ve got to have support from your primary stakeholders – from C-levels to market and regional presidents – for an effort that requires both resources and attention from each of their departments. One of our senior vice presidents is a big proponent of using analytics to drive the business in a bigger way. It’s with this kind of support that we’re seeing great benefits to our businesses.

2. Colleagues hungry to participate

Global companies must identify those people who want to take on a team objective that also relies on excellence in individual implementation. Our success relies on each regional analyst doing his or her job well, and then sharing with and learning from each other.

3. Vision for the future

In the beginning, you get started because you know things can get better, more effective and more efficient. This global effort at Nu Skin brought our regional analysts together as a team. In just eight months, we went from concept to
implementation.  Now we’re reassessing our vision for future impact. We’re increasing the visibility and utility of analytics around the globe. We’re making smarter decisions, becoming more efficient and offering our customers better value with our promotions. I can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve in another eight months.