helping you master customer insight leadership

Getting the most out of conferences

Getting the most out of those conferencesI don’t know how many events you attend each year, but I can tell you as a speaker and an attendee, you do get out what you put in. Right now I’m creating slides and preparing stories to share at “Insurance Data & Analytics” in September and “Analytics for Insurance, Europe” in October. So, I really appreciated seeing this advice from Michael Hyatt:

 

 

Hope my audiences at both those conferences are coming with that mindset, I know it’s worked for me at past conferences. Active tweeting during an event is another technique that keeps me engaged and can later be aggregated up to form a blog or personal notes. I’m encouraged to find that tweeting during an event, as a way of providing feedback and raising questions, is also being encouraged by more and more conferences these days.

See you on the 18 Sept, ready to get out why you put in!

Infographic on new purchase journey

Consumer-Decision-JourneyAs a second entry to this new section, I was struck by this infographic from SmartInsights that was shared by the IDM as part of their round-up of August Marketing news.

I think they’ve done a pretty good job of combining the learning from Google and McKinsey. This visualisation helps remind us that today’s consumers have a more involved and iterative awareness & consideration journey before we can start measuring conversion.

The only improvement I would like to see to this, certainly for financial services, is more recognition of the importance of multi-channel for many consumers. Triggers can come from many parts of a consumers life and via any channel. Plus those multiple ‘moments of truth’ can be influenced by the channel of most convenience at that time (including non-digital channels) or by consumer need for reassurance (by talking to a person).

Nevertheless, good job & a useful infographic to prompt some rethinking but those seeking to measure marketing effectiveness on these early stages.

What do you think? Any experience of mapping this part of your customer (or prospect) journey?

 

Free chapters from Outside In for you to download

Outside In coverOne of the things I’ve heard you’d value is also having opinion published here from other authors. So, I’ve created a new section called “Others” to provide opinion and resources that I find online and think you’d value. I will also publish offers for free stuff whenever possible.

As a first entry, I’m sharing a link to follow-up on the positive book review that I posted for “Outside In”. Since then (hopefully prompted by it), Forrester have relaunched an offer for you to be able to download a couple of chapters of that book for free, just by sharing your contact details.

If you liked the review & fancy checking out the book for free first, then you can find the offer here.

Plus, here’s their video summary of the book, just to offer you more variety of media on this site (another thing I’m working on):

Do let me know of anything else you’d like to see in this section and your thoughts on the content so far. I hope it helps.

Leadership coaching for you?

Coaching at workHave you experienced the benefits of coaching? Years ago UK business leaders appeared to just see this as an American business fad (for a culture who have also embraced the benefits of therapists and given us great TV like “In Treatment”). However, over the last decade more & more UK businesses have embraced executive coaching and the academic evidence for efficacy has grown substantially. Even in 2005, 88% of UK organisations reported using coaching and by 2009, 93% of US organisations.

The next revolution in coaching for businesses is the expansion of coaching to a wider leadership population. Once the preserve of CEOs or main board members, progressive businesses are now seeing the benefits of expanding to all directors, talent pipeline candidates or in some cases team coaching for the wider organisation. My personal interest is in the benefits of coaching for the rising star that is today’s Customer Insight Leaders. As I have blogged before, there is a growing trend to create Customer Insight Director or Chief Knowledge Officer roles, often for individuals who have never held C-Suite level responsibilities before. Such leaders are ideal candidates for coaching, not because of any deficits, but rather to ensure that they perform as well as possible and achieve the challenging goals for this new strategic focus.

So, what does coaching entail? Very briefly, the term covers a multitude of approaches and has many possible definitions. But most experts now agree that executive coaching can be defined as: “A relationship based intervention. Its focus is on the enhancement of personal performance at work through behavioural, cognitive and motivational interventions used by the coach, which provide change in the client.

That more academic definition hints at the fact of multiple models or techniques which can be used, where helpful, to facilitate sessions. The qualification that I’m completing on Executive Coaching includes learning coaching models including: Goal-Orientated; Cognitive Behavioural; Positive Psychology and Neuro Linguistic Programming. My own experience of coaching executives has taught me that different models can be appropriate at different times, with different clients, in different organisational contexts. The most important skill is still genuine active listening, but frameworks to help guide sessions and clear goals to be achieved do both help.

I’m encouraged by the positive messages being given by a number of organisations with regard to the importance of coaching (including ones as diverse as Network Rail and Mencap in this month’s “Coaching at Work” magazine). However, I have not yet seen this commitment applied to the Customer Insight leadership population. I hope that change will come and I am focussing part of my business on helping to meet that need.

Have you seen the benefits of coaching or mentoring in your leadership role? I’d love to hear more about your experience of this emerging profession.

Poll: Which Analytics Software?

© Robert F. Balazik | Dreamstime Stock Photos

“We use R” is a comment I used to only hear from recent graduates or some analysts working in the public sector. Both these sectors appeared to more readily accept open source software. But this does appear to be changing, over recent years I have heard a few commercial organisations share their interest in saving licence fees and moving to R for their analysts. Are you one of them? Do you have a favourite analysis software package, without which your team would not be as productive? If so, please share below.

Given the traffic this site now appears to get from customer insight leaders across the world, I thought I’d test the waters with you. Below is a quick one question survey to help us find out and share the analytics software used in your organisation today. It will be interesting to see how much has changed from the days when large company = SAS usage (if that has changed).

I have sought below to list all the “predictive analytics” software that I know is in use today, but do feel free to add others if you use them. I have chosen this category to distinguish from the mass of business intelligence or web analytics tools without equivalent statistical capabilities.

 

Do let me know if this topic is of interest and I can research more fully or share my own experience.

Why you need your analysts to be storytellers and how to develop them

storytellers

I wonder how many of you value being a storyteller, as one of the most valuable skills in your analysts or data scientists. Do you?

Even writing that it seems a strange thing to say, almost an oxymoron for such quantitative roles. Surely you can’t expect these specialists to also master the humanities?

However, as I look back over the pieces of analysis which have driven most change in the businesses I’ve served, it is those which told the most compelling story that made the biggest difference. (more…)

Is research game for gamification?

iphoneIt has been interesting, that after several years of excitement around the topic of “gamification”, this year more commentators have suggested that it’s “game over”. I certainly agree that this concept has moved through the Gartner hype-cycle, into the wonderfully named “trough of disillusionment”.

However, that is the springboard for entering into the stages of pragmatic realism. My experience is that it is often once technologies or ideas reach this stage that those interested in just delivering results can begin to realise benefits (without the distraction of  hype/fashion).

Even though I can see the points made in this Forbes article, I think that the evidence cited concerns a failure to revolutionise business more broadly. What has not yet been exhausted, in my view, is the potential for gamification to help with market research.

One growing issue springs to mind as needing help. I’m thinking of the challenge faced by any client-side researcher seeking representative sample for a large quant study. The issue is falling participation rates unless research is fun, interesting and rewarding. Coupled with the risk that some ways of overcoming this by agencies risk a higher skew toward “professional” research participants.

Gaining sufficient representative sample, that matches a companies own customer base demographic or segments, can also be important for experimentation. This is timely for Financial Services companies who are seeking to experiment with behavioural economics and need sufficient participation in tests to see choices made in response to “nudges”. So, here too, is a need to freshen up research with methods of delivery that better engage the consumer.

No doubt the hype will not be realised. But I hope that as the dust settles, customer insight leaders will not give up on the idea of gamification as a research execution media. Some pioneers like Upfront Analytics and others are seeing positive results. Let’s hope others get a chance to “play” with this.