conversation about maximising value from customer insight

Customer Insight, what do you think of this for definition?

iStock photoMany terms in the lexicon of marketing and business are ambiguous at best, misleading at worst. Both old terms like ‘proposition’ and new ones like ‘big data’ seem to bring more smoke than light. But the lack of clarity that has troubled me most in corporate life is the many meanings of ‘customer insight’.

I have come across companies that mean data analytics, those that mean consumer research, some which still mean deeply held beliefs by the marketing leader and only a few which mean something more complete.

From my experience, genuinely producing customer insights does require the outputs of data experts, statistical analysts, experienced researchers and commercially minded database marketing analysts, but it is more than that. Akin to Aristotle’s “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts“, I see real customer insights as being developed based on a convergence of the above evidence.

It’s always difficult to come to a precise definition which is not too verbose, but a working version for me at the moment is as follows… (more…)

Poll: Customer Insight, the forgotten leader?

Joseph BeuysWhilst leading the largest customer insight function amongst UK insurers, I was struck how poorly served CI leaders are; in terms of coaching or consultancy support. Compared to my peers in Marketing or Operations, this looks like a real gap in the market.

Sure, there was technical training for members of an insight team; be that in analytical software, SQL coding, statistics, data management or research methods. Plus, yes, there is a wealth of general management or leadership support available; from softer skills training courses to executive coaching at the other end of the spectrum. However, the gap I’m referring to is the “filling in that sandwich”. The art and science to effectively use the range of technical insight skills in concert and in a way that drives action (to both improve customer experience & to make money).

So, why the gap? Well, as far as I can tell the audience is not well understood. There does not appear to be an agreed common definition of Customer Insight; for example some companies use this term to refer to research, some to analysis and few to the combination. But I wonder if it is also because it is only fairly recently that customer insight leaders have risen to greater seniority and influence within companies. Few of this brave band have since moved on to consultancy and training, so a practitioners perspective is rarely available as an offering.

I’d be interested in hearing existing customer insight leaders thoughts on this:

 

Event: Data IQ Now 2014

I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at this conference. It was an enjoyable and useful event, hosted at etc Venues near St Paul’s, which seems to be a popular location for such events this year. David Reed was as ever a convivial host.

For me the stand out presentation was from eBay, a clear message on simplification to manage complexity, that is so relevant in getting from too much data & even too much analysis to clear recommendations that can be acted upon.

I’m pleased my presentation was also well received, especially as it was my last opportunity to present on behalf of Lloyds on the good work that has been achieved there. Exciting times ahead for that organisation as the focus that we’ve built over years (on customer needs not just product sales) is implemented to actually control interactions across a massively multi-channel, multi-brand, multi-product environment.