Problem four is generating and using insight to shape marketing practice.
The AMA’s first intellectual agenda is meant to serve as a source of guidance and inspiration for marketing professionals as well as academics. In it, we lay out the “seven big problems” marketers face in the boardroom and in the marketplace. These problems are a large part of that intellectual agenda, and will help us hone in on how we inform and inspire you, the marketing community.
Here, we dive into the questions that stem from each of the seven problems. AMA thought leaders discuss the “what” and “why” of each pillar problem, while we leave the door open indefinitely on the “how.” After all, marketing is about rolling with the punches.
For every big problem, there are a million small solutions. What are yours? Take the quiz below to understand how your firm is doing.
Be sure to attend the 2016 AMA Annual Conference October 5-7 and learn about using marketing insights from experts with Unilever, Google and GE.
President at WHITE64
Staying close to your customers and understanding the external cultural factors that shape their thoughts and influence what they do can dramatically increase your competitive advantage. Technology enables insights of all kinds, so you must prioritize who you should track, what you want to know and why it offers the most value. Use technology to understand how prospects and customers navigate through the funnel to purchase, share and recommend your product. This will provide insight and intelligence on how consumer wants and needs may change over time and affect consumption.
President and Cofounder of InCrowd Inc.
We have to stop thinking about getting insights as market research projects, but rather build continuous dialogue with our key stakeholders. Recognize, engage and track those who most affect your brand. There’s still too much friction in the process of obtaining needed information. New technologies such as mobile, social, automation and analytics, make this imminently possible. They let us have the direct relationships with target constituencies and provide engagement that these communities often crave, and dramatically streamline time to insights so that needed information can drive important decisions at the speed of business today.
CEO at iModerate Research Technologies
To effectively employ insights to fuel progress, companies should start simple and refute the perceived rigidity that accompanies obtaining customer feedback. Seek to generate feedback through a mix of listening, asking and observing both your customers and your competition’s customers. Work to regularly share relevant and substantive feedback across the organization to fuel demand—bite-sized nuggets can be impactful. Recognize the staggering number of requests consumers receive for feedback. Put a higher value on their time by sharing how their thoughts can meaningfully improve their experiences. General Mills did this brilliantly by crediting moms with their changes to Cheerios’ ingredients.
Founder of Alter Agents
Insights can often fail to resonate within an organization because we speak to our customers from our own perspective. “Did you see my advertising? Will you buy my product in the future? Tell me about myself.” These questions bear no resemblance to how our customers are actually experiencing our brand and making decisions about what to buy. Customers experience a brand as a series of discrete moments and make their purchase decisions based on the specific context of that time. For insights to drive action, they must accurately reflect the customer’s experience and not mirror our internal concerns.
Chief Commercial Officer at GfK Consumer Experiences
I have been concerned for a while about what I call the tyranny of the dashboard. The proliferation of data has many companies focused on the curation of knowledge and undervaluing the generation of insight. An “insight” that does not answer an important business question is really just a data point. An insight has to have a clear call to action, directing rather than just observing. It needs to be timely: “I told you so” has no value. And it should be digestible: plainly stated, concise and smart. Finally, in my view, you cannot create and activate an insight unless your entire organization understands the broad marketplace and your firm’s strategic priorities. Too many companies fail to activate important insights because of an uneven understanding of the competitive market and unclear business priorities.
Craig A. Overpeck
COO of Global Research at M3 USA
Pharmaceutical marketers are in an ever-transforming environment where the decision-maker landscape is rapidly evolving to include multiple stakeholders: practitioners, payers, pharmacists, patients, corporations and governments. Effective marketing requires that life science companies and their agencies uncover each stakeholder’s decision process. New incentive models in healthcare, and narrowing access to prescribers, challenge the traditional pharma marketer to now measure all aspects of the treatment-decision journey. Understanding these new roles in today’s healthcare system is crucial before setting the message, channel, cadence and the target. All of this is further complicated by an age wave of physicians retiring and new practitioners entering the mix. Recognizing the changing faces of the stakeholders is the key to unlocking better customer insights, which creates better marketing.
Pierre Le Manh
CEO, North America at Ipsos
Finding that 1% killer insight is the goal, yet it is getting harder as we have access to more data sets. Having troves of data is of little value unless someone can make good sense of it all. Then, curiously, after all the effort that goes into finding the 1%, it is rarely shared. Something that is very precious is often not available to most people in the organization.
The perfect insight machine marries engaging technology and talented people. It’s about creating empathy, stimulating creation and activating that 1% while immersed in the consumer’s world.