How To Use Customer Insights To Spur Growth
By Laura Patterson, President at VisionEdge Marketing
After years of focusing on controlling costs, growth has moved to the top of the priority list for many companies. In a survey of 1,600 senior executives by KPMG, 96% indicated that their companies are "are in the midst of business transformation planning or execution." Business transformations are challenging. A McKinsey study found that just 26% of respondents who said, "the transformations they're most familiar with have been very or completely successful at both improving performance and equipping the organization to sustain improvements over time." While many organizations strive for transformation, few succeed.
- Excel at the basics: Create clear stretch targets and define a clear structure.
- Break down the change process: Instead of focusing on one large goal, chunk into clearly defined smaller initiatives that can be celebrated.
- Exhibit strong leadership to maintain the energy for change.
- Build a culture to support, and the capabilities to drive, continuous improvement.
When it comes to business transformations of any type, C-Suite leaders often need the Marketing team to step up. To help with these initiatives, CEOs expect their Marketing leaders to:
- Drive revenue growth
- Own the customer experience
- Dig in to data-based insights and operate in real time
- Master metrics that matter
With this emphasis on growth, Marketing organization's must address its processes, systems and tools, data and analytics, alignment, and accountability. At a minimum, a Marketing organization focused on growth needs three primary capabilities:
- A data-driven, customer-centric culture along with the processes for transforming data into insights.
- The systems and tools to maintain consistent implementation of processes and driving effectiveness and efficiency to deliver on growth.
- A culture of performance management and measurement.
With Data You Can Navigate Your Growth Strategy
We live in the "Age of the Customer," where "empowered customers are shaping business strategy." As a result, creating a growth strategy has become more complex. Customer insights are mission critical to develop and navigate your strategy. The sheer volume of data presents both more opportunities and challenges than ever before.
Being able to derive valuable insights from the data is what sets Marketing organizations who thrive apart from the rest of the pack. Business leaders depend on the insights derived from this data to make strategic decisions. Marketing is in the ideal position to enable the customer-centric organization and to decipher the data.
Once the data is captured and organized, Marketers who want to earn a seat at the table in influence decision should analyze the data designed to identify at least four dimensions:
- Segment/categories and product opportunities for growth
- Existing and potential customers to engage and motivate
- What materials and assets, such as content, messaging, and positioning, should be brought into play
- How and when these assets should be distributed and through channels, influencers, and partners
Essentially, as Marketers, you need to understand how to effectively use data to support upstream decisions as well as to sync your content to your customer's buying process.
While a great deal of data can be captured from digital platforms, marketing automation systems, customer relationship management systems, and other technologies, you still have to reach out and connect directly with customers to gather competitive market intelligence.
Four foundational initiatives that support this type of intelligence include:
- Customer and technical advisory boards
- Market and customer segmentation
- Persona development
- Customer journey and experience mapping
Many of these efforts take good-old-fashioned market research.
As you've probably surmised, your Marketing team's data fluency will directly affect its credibility and influence. Therefore, your organization's ability to effectively impact customer acquisition and retention requires strong data-onboarding capabilities.
Take Time to Do the Analytics Right
Many of the companies we work with operate with limited resources. It is common for organizations to face time or talent shortages when it comes to obtaining data, applying analytics, and deducing the insights to make appropriate customer, market, and product decisions. Nevertheless, there is value in taking the time to make these decisions as accurately as possible because they affect the acceleration of customers' brand preference, product adoption, and share of wallet, which in turn impact market traction, penetration, and growth.
Building these capabilities requires mobilizing the Marketing organization and investing differently - all while maintaining current performance. This is no small task. However, this is why companies bring in outside experts. Using their honed expertise, consultants from the outside looking in are able to:
- Transfer skills
- Accelerate momentum and
- Ensure that lessons learned are documented.
Whether your organization decides to reach for help or go at it alone, these resources can help your team to gain the insights to drive decisions designed to accelerate growth:
- Read our How-To Guides. In particular, we recommend The Role of Leadership Councils in Creating Marketing Centers of Excellence and Intuition To Wisdom: Transforming Data Into Models and Actionable Insights.
- Listen to educational recordings. An excellent place to begin is with How to Make Marketing More Relevant to the C-Suite and the Creation, Care and Feeding of an Analytics Center of Excellence.
- Read the case studies in the analytics section. These can be great inspiration to learn how a little help allowed companies to make it all happen. We suggest starting with these two:
- Conducting Primary Research to Explore New Market Opportunities
- Customer and Market Data Provide Sales and Marketing Direction
Laura Patterson is a proven marketing practitioner, respected consultant and dynamic speaker. She is known for her practical, no-nonsense approach to proving and improving the value of marketing. Inventive and engaging, Laura quickly gets to the heart of the matter to provide actionable recommendations and solutions.More from Laura Patterson