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It was the second annual CX and the City event in New York City from Vision Critical, and I spent most of the day holding my breath hoping that the storm would pass. But despite the dark-and-gloomy weather, the evening was a success.

More than 100 senior leaders joined us on the Refinery Rooftop to network and hear how three industry-leading companies—BuzzFeed, Stanley Black & Decker and Group Nine Media—are transforming their company DNA to become insight-driven businesses.

One of the most exciting moments for me was watching an attendee from last year’s event go from being interested in a community and its business impact to being one of the speakers on the panel, leading the discussion and telling us how they are doing it today.

The evening revealed how some of the world’s biggest brands are integrating customer feedback into every decision. I included some highlights below. Have a look at the CX and the City page for more photos from the event.

BuzzFeed: Listen to the right signals

Ashmeed Ali, head of market and brand research at BuzzFeed, shared how having customer insight inscribed in the company’s DNA allowed it to diversify its revenue stream beyond online advertising.

“We’re constantly looking at our social pages, our video content and our written content to see which one rises to the top,” he explained. “We look for those signals and often create pages or specific brands to take advantage of those signals.”

“For example, once we saw that people were actually doing recipes from our Tasty channel in their homes, we saw this as an opportunity to bring the brand beyond the digital space. So we created a smart cooktop with smartphone functionalities, and we partnered with Walmart to create Tasty-branded kitchenware.”

The BuzzFeed insight community, called BuzzKeepers, is an integral part of the company’s insight engine. Ali said the company engages the community to close the loop on customer research.

“It’s not just the analytics and the traditional market research we do that helps us, but also the information we get from our community members for understanding satisfaction with those products and improving them.”

Stanley Black & Decker: Integrate insight at every stage of product development


Listening to signals is great, but they will not make a big difference until they are transformed into insight and used throughout the product development process. Shannon Chenoweth, senior market research manager at Stanley Black & Decker, shared how an integrated insight and product development team can make products more successful from the start.

“The whole premise behind our integration is making sure that the target is driving the process: we know who we’re going after and the benefits of the products specifically for them,” Chenoweth explained. “You want to make sure that the end user stays with you throughout the entire process, from opportunities and frustrations all the way to messaging and personalized content.”

One of the challenges for Chenoweth is reaching certain audiences. “Some of our end users can’t comment directly to us, so we have to figure out how to reach them. Over the years, we’ve developed creative ways to hear directly from the horse’s mouth.”

Group Nine Media: Don’t forget your internal clients

Bobby LaCivita, senior director of research at Group Nine Media, emphasized that becoming an insight-driven company requires breaking down internal silos and collaborating more closely with other departments. The techniques and information from insight communities can help to change internal processes and even how you inform stakeholders.

“It’s important to leverage data from new technologies to create good, actionable insight,” LaCivita explained. “You also have to make sure the right people see it. This means adjusting habits and internal workflows, while always listening to your team’s challenges, needs and goals.”

"It’s important to leverage data from new technologies to create good, actionable insight."

He also highlighted the importance of agility when it comes to gathering and interpreting data. “A lot of things that have changed recently involve things like data availability, restrictions on data, and new resources and capabilities. Maintaining good relationships with partners—internal, peers in other organizations and with third-party providers—allows me to have a couple of different ways to cross-reference, validate and answer questions. If one of these becomes unavailable tomorrow, I’ll still have a way to get to the story.”

How much customer insight is in your organization’s DNA?

These insightful talks by our experts from BuzzFeed, Stanley Black & Decker and Group Nine Media reiterate the importance of having alignment and the right processes and technologies. Ultimately, to move from a business that’s merely data-aware to one that is actually insight-driven requires mastering competencies that both capture relevant and timely customer feedback and improve customer relationships.

To learn more about transforming your company DNA to become an insight-driven business, watch our webinar with Senior Forrester Analyst Cinny Little.

Insight-Driven Decision Making 

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Katie Colombo

Katie Colombo is a Director at Vision Critical covering media and entertainment accounts based out of the New York office. She focuses on digital and analytics driven companies and those in the process of transforming as audiences and viewership continues to rapidly evolve. Her experience includes big data, analytics and media, both traditional and non-traditional. Katie is most passionate about enabling organizations to develop a complete view of their customer and leverage the data to generate new revenue streams, improve content, innovate and launch successful new products.
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