Data Consulting: JCU Welcomes Alumnus Dimitri Visnadi

On March 9, 2023, Professor Antonella Salvatore welcomed alumnus Dimitri Visnadi to her Principles of Marketing class for a talk on data science and marketing consulting. Dimitri graduated from JCU in 2013 with a B.A. in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing. He then earned a master’s in Business Analytics and Computer Science from University College London. In 2019, Dimitri founded Vanalize, a consulting firm that uses data science to help companies reach their business goals.

Dimitri Visnadi 

Dimitri Visnadi

Dimitri started by saying that in data consulting, visualization and charts are essential to effectively analyze data, in order to then be able to come up with a good marketing strategy. He explained that data consultant is an umbrella term that indicates data analysts, data scientists, and data strategists, and then talked about the difference between the three. He explained that a data analyst’s main job is to analyze data based on what the clients need to know, and present it using charts, graphs, infographics, and other visuals.

A data scientist, on the other hand, tries to predict and model data. Data modeling is the process of analyzing and defining all the different data a business collects and produces, as well as the relationships between those bits of data. Dimitri explained that the prediction of customer conversion rates affects the price of a product or service. He made the example of flight companies that change their prices based on different factors such as the number of times their website was visited by a specific customer, their profile, and tendency to ultimately buy the ticket or not (among many other factors).

Dimitri said that many companies don’t know how to use data, and that’s when the data strategist is necessary. A data strategist focuses on the business side of data, meaning that he helps shape the business strategy based on the data collected. “Data is like garbage: you better have a plan before you collect it.” He explained that handling data can be very expensive, as it needs to be stored in a database, processed using specific tools, and transformed into information that can be used, and that all of this costs money. “Working in data is an investment, and it’s easy to fail if you don’t have a plan,” he said.

Dimitri’s interest in data began at JCU, when he was required to create Excel spreadsheets for some of his classes. After graduation, he interned for six months at Yoopies, a French startup that connected babysitters with families and vice versa. His initial task was to translate their website into several languages, and then he was asked to market the services to a foreign audience. Dimitri said that in this first role he made a mistake because he didn’t do an initial market research and segmentation, and therefore didn’t understand who his audience was. After a while, when he saw that his efforts didn’t work, he started applying the principles that he learned at JCU. He learned to extract data from a database and display it on an excel spreadsheet in a visual way, and that’s when his passion for data began. He then worked as data analyst at HP for three years, after which he decided that he wanted to earn a master’s degree in data science.

After completing his graduate studies, Dimitri worked for a startup based in Malta for one year, and then went into data consulting at a company called Trakken, where he worked for an additional year. At this point, Dimitri decided to found his own data consulting company, and launched Vanalize. When asked how he got his first clients, Dimitri explained that he relied heavily on LinkedIn, and the network of recruiters on the platform. At the time, there was a large demand for independent consultants, which is also what pushed him to found his company.