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At the 2016 Asia Pacific Customer Intelligence Summit, over 200 professionals from marketing, market research, innovation and customer experience gathered for a day of learning and networking and to celebrate the achievements of the most customer-centric companies in the region.

The full-day event in Sydney featured some of Asia Pacific’s biggest brands and explored provocative perspectives on the state of customer insight.

Once again, I had the pleasure of hosting this year’s Summit. Here’s a recap of the top themes attendees were most excited about.

  1. Use authentic engagement to drive customer loyalty.

Opening the Summit with a splash, Vision Critical CEO Scott Miller tackled the “authenticity challenge.” He explained that gaining customer trust has never been more essential because people buy from businesses they have affinity for. Unfortunately, most customers today, including the lucrative Millennials, don’t trust big brands.

The solution, according to Miller, is to focus on authentic engagement with customers. The first step is to know what your company stands for.   

  1. Listen, respond, repeat.

Renowned Shark Tank Australia celebrity judge Naomi Simson inspired attendees with her stories of starting up her company RedBalloon. Simson says that taking ownership of the customer experience was key to RedBalloon’s success. In fact, Simson went as far as taking on the title of “chief experience officer” to hammer home among employees the importance of great service.

Simson and her team focused on listening and responding to feedback from individual customers. Her emphasis on customer experience drove word of mouth and sales for RedBalloon, which is now known as a pioneer in the profitable experiential marketing space in Australia.

  1. Save $100,000—by listening to your employees.

One of Simson’s early “a-ha” moments as an entrepreneur was that she needed a passionate workforce. Simson realized that an engaged and happy workplace inspires employees to improve the customer experience.

Focusing on the well-being of your staff can add up to $100,000 to your bottom line over five years by increasing productivity, according to Simson.

  1. Improve customer relationships with memory.

Divesh Sisodraker, Vision Critical’s EVP of product management, shared a preview of what’s coming up in Sparq, Vision Critical’s customer intelligence platform. Emphasizing the importance of creating authentic relationships with customers, Sisodraker recapped recent enhancements to Sparq, including Stories and Search.

According to Sisodraker, Vision Critical’s product roadmap is driven by the need to provide enterprises with “memory.” Vision Critical’s product team aims to give context to companies and make it easy for customer intelligence pros to leverage the information they already have.  

Vision Critical customers can also expect API integrations and profiling variables in the near future. (Sisodraker will reveal more at the 2016 Customer Intelligence Summit in Chicago.)

  1. Look beyond your own industry.

2016 Visionary APAC winner

Australia-based insurance firm IAG took home the Visionary award, beating out finalists Philippines-based telecommunications company Globe Philippines, media giant NewsCorp and Australian telco Telstra. In the rookie category of the Visionary award, the Art Gallery New South Wales edged out e-commerce giant eBay, financial services provider HESTA Super Fund and advertising company oOh! media

Deb Fernon, research and insight manager at IAG, shared how the company uses its Imagine Better insight community to improve customer experience, innovation and marketing. The community has been instrumental in understanding the consumer landscape outside of the insurance industry, revealed Fernon.  

  1. Keep an eye out for insight monetization, AI and automation.

Ray Poynter, director of Vision Critical University, delivered an inspiring keynote exploring the current state of research. Predicting that research will become even cheaper, faster and better, Poynter said artificial Intelligence and automation will have a profound impact on the research job market.

Poynter’s advice to researchers is to embrace new technology, adopt new skills and bring strategic thinking to the enterprise.

He also encouraged attendees to examine insight monetization—a trend in which companies generate revenue from their insight communities by selling research services to partners.

To hear Poynter’s prognosis on the future of research, register for the 2016 Customer Intelligence Summit in Chicago and London, where he’ll be delivering another keynote.
  1. Don’t think of market research as a department.

Most businesses today accept the fact that customer-centricity is a competitive advantage. This belief leads to the democratization of insight, according to Poynter. The need for customer intelligence isn’t exclusive to market research: everyone from marketing to product management teams need to use customer feedback.

The democratization of insight means market researchers are no longer confined to individual silos. Market researchers will sit in a wide range of departments across the enterprise, delivering the collective voice of the customer to various stakeholders.

Join Vision Critical in London and Chicago

Our event in Sydney is the first of three Summits we’re holding this year. Join our upcoming Customer Intelligence Summits in London and Chicago to hear more presentations from marketing, customer experience and innovation thought leaders and to network and party with the brightest minds in the industry.

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Peter Harris

Peter Harris helps brands build authentic customer relationships through technology. Pioneering customer intelligence since 2010, Peter Harris has led Vision Critical Asia Pacific to become the largest customer intelligence software provider, supporting over 140 customer-led brands, in Asia Pacific such as Telstra, Adobe and Cathay Pacific. With deep roots in research and strategy, Peter has championed the future of research and technology across his leadership roles at prominent research organisations, including AMSRS, APRC and GRBN.
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