How to Gain Insights Designed to Accelerate Growth

Sales GrowthAfter years of focusing on controlling costs, growth has moved to the top of the priority list for many companies. Despite 93% of the 900 senior executives surveyed by KPMG indicating that their companies are “at some stage of undergoing or preparing to undergo a transformation,” designed to propel growth, the same survey’s results suggest that few succeed. Naturally, the results beg the question, “Why?” While there are many underlying reasons, organizational complexity is considered the biggest barrier to transformation success.

To help lower this barrier, a McKinsey study found that successful transformation for growth requires companies do four things:

1. Excel at the basics by creating clear stretch targets and defining a clear structure.
2. Break down the change process into clearly defined smaller initiatives that can be celebrated.
3. Exhibit strong leadership to maintain the energy for change.
4. Build a culture to support and the capabilities to drive continuous improvement.

C-Suite leaders often need the Marketing team to step up most. Research by Deloitte finds that 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.

To support growth initiatives, Marketing 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:

1. A data-driven, customer-centric culture along with the processes for transforming data into insights.
2. The systems and tools to maintain consistent implementation of processes and driving effectiveness and efficiency to deliver on growth.
3. A culture of performance management and measurement.

Do You Know How to Drive Decisions? Use Data-Driven Insights.

If we’ve learned anything from recent and very public scenarios, it’s that in the “Age of the Customer,” where “empowered customers are shaping business strategy,” customer insights are mission critical to thriving businesses. In fact, being customer-centric is your buy-in to sit at the Marketing table today. As a result, the Marketing environment has become more complex. With Marketing and business leaders having to process the extreme volume of data that continues to flow at an increasingly faster rate across their spreadsheets, being customer-centric has served to fill the Marketing environment with both more opportunities and challenges than ever before.

Although complex, business leaders depend on the insights derived from this data to make strategic decisions. Marketers depend on the data to determine which materials and assets, such as content, messaging, and positioning should be brought into play as well as how and when they should be distributed through channels, influencers, and partners. Essentially, as Marketers, you need to understand how to use data to synch your content to your customer’s buying process, and the degree of data fluency of you Marketing team will directly affect Marketing’s credibility and influence. Therefore, your organization’s ability to effectively impact customer acquisition and retention requires strong data onboarding capabilities.

While a great deal of data can be captured from digital platforms, marketing automation systems, customer relationship management systems, and other technology, we want to remind you that there is still the need to reach out and connect directly with customers to gather competitive market intelligence.

Four foundational initiatives that support this type of intelligence include:
1. Customer and Technical Advisory Boards
2. Market and Customer Segmentation
3. Persona Development
4. Customer Journey and Experience Mapping

Many of these efforts take good old-fashioned market research.

How to Overcome Time and Talent Shortages for Your Analytics Efforts

If you’re like many of the companies we work with, you operate with limited resources. Perhaps you face time or talent shortages when it comes to obtaining the data, applying the analytics, and deducing the insights to make appropriate customer, market, and product decisions. Nevertheless, you find yourself pressed 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 your market traction, penetration and growth.

After decades of working with all levels within an organization, we have found that despite their necessity, it is not uncommon for these capabilities to be underdeveloped or missing from a Marketing organization. After all, growing these capabilities requires mobilizing the Marketing organization and investing differently – all while maintaining current performance.

This is no small task. However, as change is inevitable in the face of growth, it is also a catalyst and a primary reason why companies bring in outside experts. With their honed expertise, consultants from the outside looking in are able to:

• Transfer skills,
• maintain momentum, and
• ensure that lessons learned are documented.

Whether you decide to reach for help or go at it alone, do yourself a favor and use these resources to enable 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 case studies to learn how a little help allowed companies to make it all happen. Start with Case Study 09: Conducting Primary Research to Explore New Market Opportunities and Case Study 34: Customer and Market Data Provide Sales and Marketing Direction.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is the co-founder and President of VisionEdge Marketing. Laura was among the first pioneers in the area of Marketing Performance Management and is the driving force to bring science to the discipline of marketing to help clients to use data, analytics, metrics, and processes to prove and improve the value of their Marketing. She has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Elsevier, Howden, Kennametal, Safe Systems, Southwest Airlines and TUV. She is the author of the book “Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization”. Laura spent 20 years in the industry before co-founding VisionEdge Marketing in 1999.
Laura Patterson

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