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Becoming an insight-driven business requires real organizational transformation. Established companies, for instance, need to be comfortable with change and embrace new methods of learning about their customers and delivering better products, services and experiences.

Organizational reinvention, however, doesn’t happen by accident. More importantly, to transform your company into an insight-driven enterprise, you need a strategic approach to prioritizing customer relationships and making customer-led decisions.

At the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit, three forward-thinking business leaders shared how they are leveraging customer insight to successfully drive organizational change. Rebecca Haller, managing director of audience and data from POLITICO, Brian Curtiss, system marketing director from BayCare Health Systems, and Marie Guardabascio, research manager from Telstra, shared how they reimagined their roles and drove changes in their organizations as a result.

Here are three highlights from their session.

1. Get early executive buy-in

Curtiss emphasized that it’s important to get executives to endorse an insight-driven business approach. The C-suite has major influence in shaping the corporate culture, and executives provide the necessary support to prioritize the organizational importance of customer relationships and real time consumer feedback. For instance, when BayCare launched its insight community, the organization picked the catchy name Health Huddle. Today, Health Huddle has become synonymous with patient feedback at BayCare.

POLITICO’s approach was a little different but just as effective. Haller said the company decided to use clear metrics and implement a slower rollout. She conducted interviews with stakeholders to make sure that the insight department lived up to other departments’ expectations. She identified quick wins that would immediately showcase the value of ongoing audience engagement, and used that as a blueprint for future activities.

2. Become the source of truth in your organization

At Australian telecom giant Telstra, the customer insight team gradually enjoyed high visibility by influencing decisions on projects that had a significant impact on the company. For instance, when the company was deciding on new plans to offer the market, it engaged with its insight community to make the right call.

The final decision was an innovative “swap” plan that allows customers to exchange their phones just after 12 months of use. The bold product and marketing push was unheard of in telecom—and it proved to be an important innovation for the company. According to Guardabascio, being able to influence significant projects like this example has established insight’s reputation as the truth serum in the company.

Curtiss also described how his team’s profile was raised within the organization because they constantly provide the “real” story, which the organization truly values, but wasn’t previously available. His team’s insight is increasingly respected, and they now provide consumer feedback to top management that directly impacts the organization’s strategy.

As for POLITICO, Haller found a way to leverage the organization’s insight community to influence strategic decisions. The results spoke for themselves: in one example, audience feedback led to a 75% increase in podcast listeners. Early wins quickly established the reputation of the community, prompting the company to develop a new audience insight and data team that Haller now leads.

3. Create the right team

The right mix of skills and attitude is essential to influencing decision-making at your company. At POLITICO, for example, Haller’s team is empowered to disagree with each other. Curiosity and open-mindedness are essential, as well as a passion for understanding audiences. “Think about people you’d like to be stuck at the airport with,” Haller said.

Guardabascio highlighted how her team features a mix of subject matter experts and relationship-builders. She enjoys working with people who embody the team as a source of truth and who are able to consult with other teams and extend the team’s capacity.

Curtiss added that the right people are not necessarily in research, not does it require the costly creation of new positions. When he was building his team, he didn’t look outside the organization to get market research experience. Instead, he recruited internally looking for those who had the passion for customer-centricity and collaboration.

The successful business of the future is insights-driven. But if your team can’t transform the organization, it will be a difficult road ahead. Getting executive buy-in, becoming the source of truth, and creating the right team are essential foundations to driving successful, lasting change.

Forrester: A $1.2 trillion opportunity - The rise of insight driven businesses

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was the former Content Marketing Manager and was responsible for Vision Critical's blog and social media marketing program. Before joining Vision Critical's global marketing team, Kelvin worked at Dunn PR, a Vancouver-based public relations firm. His experience includes working with lifestyle, real estate, and non-profit clients to develop social media marketing and PR strategies. Kelvin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFU's Beedie School of Business.
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