Everyone talks about customer centricity and how important it is to put the customer at the heart of business. However few organizations are walking their talk. I think the reason is because while they understand the importance of deeply engaging their customers, most companies don’t know how to do it. Insights are the very foundation of customer centricity. They form the basis of needed changes, whether in company structure and vision, brand positioning and innovation, or new processes built around the customer.
Insights as the motor of a customer first strategy
As with customer centricity, most businesses also talk about the importance of insights and try to develop them, but again far fewer than you imagine are actually successful. So what can we do to help generate insights as the basis of our adoption of a customer first strategy? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Understand the category in which you are really competing. Not the industry definition but the customer grouping of the brands, and the identification of those with which you are competing.
  • Convert your business objective into a customer aim. Understand the changes you are looking to make in your customers’ attitudes or behaviours. Your information gathering will be far more focussed and actionable.
  • Understand your target customers as deeply as possible. Not just who they are, but what they do, where they do it and most importantly of all, why. One of the easiest ways to do this is by getting intimate with them. Walk with them, talk with them, live their lives alongside them and identify their needs, desires and pain points.
Once you have taken these first steps, you will be ready to complete the insight development process. Basing it on a human truth will ensure it resonates with your customers and has the added benefit of its relevance cutting across geographies too.
ROI as the basis for more resources
However, insight development and then building brands and actions based upon them, will require additional resources:
  • Skills: Even today, insight development is still usually left to the market research department alone, but it takes additional skills. Customer information comes from many sources besides market research data. While analytical skills are essential, synthesis, storytelling and knowledge sharing are also required.
  • Personnel: Since insight comes from the integration of information from multiple sources, more resources will be needed than most companies assign to market research.
  • Budget: There is a mass of information about the customer available within most organizations, but it usually requires additional analysis and categorisation. As you review it all, ask yourself: What is useful and what is just nice to have? What is relevant to the question in hand and what isn’t? You can’t make use of everything every time, so these are vital questions to ask before you attack the mountain of data available to you.
OK, you might be thinking, but how do I obtain all these added resources? You and your team are already stretched. The answer’s simple. By better meeting the business’s demands and needs, and demonstrating a positive ROI of insights. In order to do this, you need to be more business savvy and be of value to the decision-takers. And this you can’t do by sitting in your office, behind your computer! So get out and share your knowledge. Surprise your management with a deeper understanding of the business, the market, and the customer. After all, no-one knows them better! Denyse_Drummond_Dunn Denyse Drummond-Dunn Global Speaker, Strategist & Change Catalyst, Helping Companies Grow more PROFITABLY Through Deeper Customer Engagement C3Centricity