The Bloomfire team had a great time at CRC 2019: we sat in on some fascinating sessions, we had memorable conversations with market researchers, we worked on our swings at our TopGolf afterparty. But most importantly, we learned a lot about the current market research landscape— and left with some powerful takeaways for how we can best serve our customers.
Here are five of the biggest lessons we learned from CRC 2019. We hope you’ll find them as valuable as we do.
Your Entire Org Drives Customer Experience
Customer experience (CX) teams and senior CX leaders are becoming increasingly common at leading companies— and there’s no question that customer-centricity is a focus for insights teams. But it’s no longer enough to have one team own the customer experience. CX is the current battleground for an overwhelming majority of brands, and to stay competitive, companies must integrate customer insights into all areas of the business.
To truly stand out, companies need to cultivate a customer-centric culture, and all employees should have access to a holistic view of the customer. A great customer experience starts with sharing the knowledge of your insights team with the entire organization. When everyone has access to the same customer insights, you can build unique experiences that your customers will love.
Research Teams Can No Longer Just Be Reactive
Traditionally, the insights function looks something like this: a line manager has a question about their brand’s customers, so they commission a research project to answer it. Their insights team conducts the research and presents their findings to the line manager. And in many cases, that’s the end of the research’s lifespan.
With this model, companies risk wasting money on duplicated research (because stakeholders don’t know what research already exists), and research that could benefit multiple teams or departments never realizes its full potential. Additionally, insights teams get stuck in a rut where they’re simply reacting to research requests rather than proactively asking questions and doing innovative work.
In his presentation on the evolution of shopper insights at Conagra, Matt Gregg highlighted the importance of taking a proactive approach to research and meeting customers’ needs further upstream. When insights teams align with company leaders on business objectives and start proactively identifying the questions that need to be answered, rather than waiting for the next siloed research request, they can become a true source of competitive advantage for their organization.
Insights Professionals Need to Be Storytellers
Another major theme we saw at CRC was the need for insights professionals to go beyond just presenting the data they’ve collected. Let’s face it: none of your company’s decision-makers want to wade through an Excel spreadsheet with thousands of rows or read the 20-page white paper your team put together. Or, as Electrolux’s Brett Townsend put it in his keynote presentation, “If you can’t tell me your story in three slides, you can’t tell me your story.”
Insights professionals need to think beyond raw data and focus on presenting data-driven recommendations to their stakeholders. It’s essential to think about your audience and tailor your communication appropriately. Consider what matters most to your stakeholders and what story will get them thinking about how to incorporate your insights into their decisions.
Insights Functions Need to Be Innovation Centers, Not Cost Centers
In addition to talking about concise storytelling in his keynote, Brett Townsend hit on a hard truth: “We have more models than ever, more decision frameworks, more analytics, more data… sales should love us, marketing should love us, product should love us— but they don’t.” He also pointed to the fact that over 60% of CEOs don’t think their companies are insights driven (which doesn’t always square with what insights teams think).
All too often, insights functions are viewed as cost centers, which can make them candidates for budget cuts. It’s essential for insights teams to demonstrate that their research is contributing to the bottom line. Encouraging that kind of mindset shift across your organization might be easier said than done, but one good place to start is to give stakeholders an easy way to consume and act on your findings. And that leads us to our next lesson…
Researchers Know They Need a Better Way to Share Insights
One thing we kept hearing at CRC was that researchers know they have an insights-sharing problem— but they haven’t found the right solution yet. A lot of insights teams are still relying on outdated SharePoint instances to house their research, or even worse, storing all their content inside a maze of Dropbox or Google Drive folders. They lack a centralized research library that their stakeholders can access at any time, and as a result, their stakeholders aren’t using their insights to inform their decisions.
While we’re not happy to hear that so many researchers are struggling to share their insights, we are happy to be able to offer a solution. This insights sharing challenge is the problem that Bloomfire was built to solve. Our platform is designed to make all research and insights searchable and available on demand. That means you can say good-bye to redundant research, team members not being able to find what they’re looking for, and stakeholders calling to ask for access to the latest report at 10:00 at night.
If you weren’t at CRC this year or didn’t get a chance to stop by our booth, we’d still love to talk about solving your insights sharing challenge.