How to Use Data to Problem-Solve, Develop Roadmaps, and Determine Priorities with Dutta Satadip of Pinterest

Today’s podcast is a little different. I’m sharing the audio from The Chief Communications Officer Human Duct Tape Show that I recorded with Dutta Satadip on LinkedIn Live. Be sure to follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn for resources to help guide you as we face this pandemic together!


If you’ve ever planned a party, created a vision board, or looked for new cooking recipes, Pinterest has most likely been a source of inspiration for you. As of March 2020, Pinterest has over 335 million people who use the platform every month, and it continues to grow. I think you’ll find today’s conversation with Dutta Satadip, the Global Head of Customer Success and Operations at Pinterest a valuable one, especially as the use of digital media will continue to increase due to the pandemic.

In this fascinating conversation, Dutta, who was professionally trained as an engineer, takes us through the many ways in which he’s been able to lead the customer-focused work at Pinterest. Though the company is primarily B2C, it also serves a B2B audience, and Dutta shares how they enact data-driven behaviors to improve the platform so that it’s more valuable for both customers and advertisers. He also shares how the digital platform has experienced growth during the pandemic, and the value of being able to adjust with the shifting behaviors of your audience.

Watch the Live Interview

Gather Data to Create One Source of Truth

When Dutta first joined the Pinterest team, he “ a listening tour, to really listen to all the internal stakeholders to know what and how they saw the problem.” He explains in the interview that he needed to know what was missing and what needed to happen: “I also spent time with customers, advertising agencies, individuals, and so forth to get a very rounded view of what was going on.”

“One of the big insights that I gained when I came into this job was the need to really orchestrate the entire customer journey in a seamless way so that you’re collecting all the data and have one source of truth,” describes Dutta.

Dutta shares that he had a lot of video and voice calls to get an assessment of what was happening within the company. Additionally, he attended some focus groups with customers and met with them one-on-one to understand their perspective of the platform. Dutta was able to combine quantitative data from customer surveys, consumer research, and external research with qualitative research from the person-to-person feedback.

It's important to orchestrate the entire customer journey in a seamless way so that you're collecting all the data and have one source of truth. ⁠— @duttas @Pinterest #customerexperience #CX Click To Tweet

Assess the Current Situation and Determine Priorities

In a listening tour that Dutta conducted earlier this year, he and his executive team recruited customers for a focus group and asked open-ended questions: “Why did you choose Pinterest? What do you do with Pinterest? What could we do better?”

Through these interactions, he was able to see some of the problems more clearly. He shares that he soon realized they needed to make Pinterest more valuable for advertisers since that’s a very clear, top-line business impact. Additionally, these insights helped them develop a roadmap so they could have a better idea of projects that need to be accelerated and what might be considered as “extra.”

Recreate the Customer Experience with Your Team

After the listening tours, Dutta shares that he and his team developed an “Immersion Day” concept, where he and some executives would use Pinterest as if they were a new customer. The executives along with a group of employees were given assignments to “try to do X” and see what the results would be. He explains that employees were interested in this activity and did the work because they were also curious to see what the experience would teach them.

Through this immersion day practice, Dutta and his team saw how hard it is to do certain things. He says, “By giving executives a first-hand feel, of what that things look like it brought a lot of empathy. what our customers were feeling, what our users were feeling, right? And in many cases, what our internal folks were feeling as they were trying to help. This became a starting point for them to look for small wins that they could get quickly. These small wins would soon make way for the big projects that would require more time and resources.”

The small wins would soon make way for the big projects that would require more time and resources. — @duttas @Pinterest #customerexperience #CX Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Dutta says:

“When I’m mentoring or talking to people, the three things I think, I wish I knew earlier: I think the first one is what I would call, really the concept of resilience. And what I found is, building something is truly a sequence of failures till you get it right. There will always be problems, there will always be issues. It’s you really need to have a mindset that will allow you to persist and be really focused at the problem that you are trying to solve and kind of go after that.

The second thing I have learned and I think I’m still learning and being better as is the power of stories. You can have a lot of things going on. But stories connect people at a much, much more fundamental level. And being able to deal with a story to explain the problem goes a long way, especially as we talked about creating the holistic truth. How you become a better storyteller as a leader, and as a problem solver is important.

And the last one, which I found is something right back from my start, is being data-driven. At the end of the day, the work I do has to serve the company to some degree, right? And how you quantify that impact goes a long, long way in terms of support, funding, and ongoing investment. I think being data driven has sort of served me well. And I always encourage people to really invest the time. But really taking a step back when you start something and say, How do I measure the success? How do I look for those intermediate points and be able to articulate that?”

About Dutta Satadip

Dutta Satadip is responsible for building a scalable customer success organization that drives customer lifetime value through operations at Pinterest. Prior to Pinterest, he was the Director of Customer Success for the Americas region at Google. He comprehensively drove customer retention, accomplished sales targets, and scaled operations across a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of over 150 products with teams in 15 different offices.

He has more than 20 years of industry experience and has held various senior leadership roles in most key operating areas, including Pre-Sales, Business Operations, Product Strategy, Product Management, Product Marketing, Engineering as well as Consulting positions. He specializes in transforming organizations by identifying the right strategic levers to drive the business while minimizing risk. Dutta has operated extensively in both developed and emerging countries.

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