One-third of Fortune 100 companies will face an information crisis—an inability to adequately drive business insights from data and information—by 2017, according to Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. As a result, effective information and insights management will become a key differentiator among top-performing businesses, experts say. Here are four trends to watch out for in 2015 to ensure that your organization makes the most of its data-driven insights and capabilities in the years to come.
1. Stakeholder management will be key. Relationships among stakeholders and members of the C-suite can affect how companies manage their data and consumer insights. In companies with strong, collaborative relationships between the CMO and CTO, overall company performance is much greater, says Simon Chadwick, founder and managing partner at Durham, N.C.-based research consultancy Cambiar.
In addition, make sure that your insights team has an influence company-wide and is positioned as a strategic partner, not just a data processor, says Patti Fries, general manager for consumer insights at Englewood, Colo.-based Dish Network. “We don’t want any decisions made without one of our team members in the room because we know the consumer better than probably 95%, if not more, of the people at the company.”
2. Increased focus on data delivery. “Data alone cannot influence somebody,” Fries says. “It’s critical to deliver it in a way that is meaningful, simple, understandable and actionable. We’re not trying to transfer data, we’re transferring knowledge.” As a result, it’s not enough for researchers and insights professionals to have just the technical skills—they need to be excellent communicators, as well.
3. Greater insights influence. Insights teams will start to be tapped earlier in the development cycle, says Risa Schwartz, director of consumer insights at Chicago-based Hillshire Brands. Insights professionals are now stepping in during the product development stage. For example, advancements in digital testing are allowing marketers to test consumer reaction to specific product packaging, and thus make changes before the product is physically produced. “Learning is not just about if were we successful, but [learning] how we can optimize before we actually launch.”
4.Mobile will drive survey research. As more survey respondents participate on their mobile devices, marketers need to develop surveys mobile-first and keep them short, according to Tom H.C. Anderson, founder of Stamford-Conn.-based Anderson Analytics-OdinText. In 2015, Anderson expects surveys to include just three types of questions: a Likert-scale question such as, ‘How satisfied were you,’ a question about why the respondent gave the rating that they did, and a question on how the brand can improve. “Those three questions should replace all surveys,” Anderson says. “I’m not saying it’ll happen, but people are starting to go there.”
However, mobile surveys won’t change the need for face-to-face interaction. “Sometimes there are insights beyond the words that they’re saying,” Schwartz says. “You have to experience products with them. You have to talk to them about how they’re feeling and how these products fit into their lives. You can’t get that depthon the computer.”
This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of the Marketing Insights e-newsletter.
Author bio: Julie Davis is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.