Creating the ideal marketing insight function

“Managing insight staff well is more important to companies as they base their strategies increasingly on knowledge derived from insights.” So says Merlin Stone in his 2006 book “Consumer Insight”. Steve Wills in a 2005 paper for the IDM’s house journal makes a similar observation, saying companies must “…move away from seeing data analysis and market research in isolation to the establishment of a comprehensive customer insight discipline…”. Hence my interest in how different organisations are managing their database marketing, analytics and intelligence functions

Interestingly, the larger the organisation, the more likely it seems that the opportunity for integration will have been recognised and exploited. This may be as a result of the difficulties experienced by not adopting a joined-up approach or the more readily quantifiable benefits of doing so. Companies with more delineated operating divisions appear less likely to have centralised marketing insight management. Perhaps due to the more devolved nature of these organisations, the central drive or figurehead necessary to bring integration about is missing.

Tangible benefits have been demonstrated to be achievable though, such as cost savings and identification of new commercial opportunities. Quantifiable outcomes such as these clearly enable the construction of a robust business case for establishing an insight function. Other “softer” benefits may not prove sufficiently compelling motivation for making the necessary organisational changes. This is a shame, as those organisations that have done so clearly reap the benefits.

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