Insights 2020 demonstrates the value of customer centricity

by Nigel Hollis | October 12, 2015

Insights 2020 is one of the largest studies of the role of insight and analysis ever conducted; spanning over 60 countries, 10,000 participants, and tapping into some of the smartest institutions and individuals on the planet. Any company seeking to improve its own performance would do well to review the results and then take a long hard look at their own operations. You can find an overview of the Insights 2020 findings here but I am going to call out three findings that I believe are particularly important.

A strong brand purpose

Among over-performers, 80 percent of Insights 2020 respondents agree that everything the company does is linked to a clear brand purpose, compared to only 32 percent among under-performers. Companies that have a clear idea of how they will change their customers’ lives for the better are more likely to deliver a total experience that people desire.

Making sense of data

73 percent of over-performers agree that their companies create experiences based on data-driven insights compared to 31 percent of under-performers, and 67 percent of over-performers agree that their companies link different data sources to distill insights. No one individual data source will tell you everything you need to know. Marketers need to combine behavioral with attitudinal, big data with qualitative, meta-analysis with immersion.

Recruiting ‘whole brain’ people

It is the need to make sense of information gathered from different sources and apply it to business decisions that separates over-performers from under-performers. ‘Whole brain’ thinking and a strong business sense need to be combined do so. It is a rare combination, and it is not one that’s easily attracted to work on legacy brands with little sense of purpose.


The single biggest factor that pulls under-performers back from faster growth appears to be organizational misalignment. Legacy structures and functions and internal silos mean that even when compelling new opportunities are identified, the company often fails to seize them effectively. One of the biggest disconnects that I observe is between marketing and sales operations. No one appears to be responsible for connecting brand-building and in-store activation, and as long as this continues the effect of both is weakened.

So what do you see in the Insights 2020 results? Please share your thoughts.

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