Consumer insights are not accessible to the wide audience within organizations. You may think they are, but they’re not. What is available in brands is a centralized system that circulates predefined set of insights to different audiences. And because its one system that caters to a wide range of roles, and because its setup by people with limited time, it is set for the lowest common denominator in terms of insights:

• Value for money
• Loyalty
• Quality
• ….

One size fits all doesn’t really cut it anymore. Let’s say you work for one of the brands as a product manager or product researcher. You are responsible for one product or a group of products. In order to move the needle and take your product from $X revenue to $2X revenue you need a detailed plan of what to do. For the details you need deep understanding of what to fix/change/position/market with your product/s. How are you going to get it from one centralized system that caters to all the products in the organization PLUS the brand? Short answer is you won’t.

This is the mainframe side of the story. One system or a few systems that are managed by IT or other centralized groups and is/are supposed to track and deliver granular insights to all products of the brand.

If as the product manager you need new insights as your product or competitors now have new capabilities you need to go and stand in line for the central groups to add these insights into the system so hopefully down the road you will get the right reports.
I think by now you got the picture:

• It’s slow
• It’s not granular
• It’s not personalized

It’s not that these systems are useless, it’s just that they mostly cater to the executives in the brand and is less valuable to the front line in the brand that needs to make daily, data driven decisions about specific aspects of a specific product – is the handle of the razor convenient? Are my paper towels as soft or as durable as my competition? Is my facial cream leaving residue and can I fix it?

The business world today is moving at a much faster pace, and rapid changes in competition, demand, technology etc. have made it more critical than ever for consumer brands to be able to respond to changes quickly. But according to a recent McKinsey Survey, organizational agility brands are looking to apply agile ways of working to areas that are customer focused such as innovation, customer experience, sales and servicing, and product management.

The common theme to better customer focused operations is accurate data and insights on the consumers. There is so much data out there today so there is no shortage of it but mining it and making it available easily to a wide range of people who need it within the business is still challenging for most. And this is where there is a need for the PC (Personal computer) version of Consumer Insights.

What’s the PC side of Consumer Insights?

We need a PC (or tablet/smartphone…) because we each like and need different things. And we want quick access to them. Similarly in brands you’d expect any business decision taken to be backed by the specific data and insights needed – whether you’re deciding on a marketing campaign against a specific competitor or deciding on your next product launch. Basically the PC version of Consumer Insights needs to provide:

• Granular data for the specific role about the product (or service) and competing products (or services)
• Real time access
• Flexible reporting so I can build my own

With this every employee in the brand that needs to make business decisions can win the war. He/She knows how to set priorities and where to focus.

Conclusion

A consumer-focused product or a service can fail on one specific factor (See recent example of Samsung Note 7). However to succeed with a consumer product/service you need to know all of the dozens of aspects that your consumers care about in your offering. Only if you get them all (or mostly all) right you will get more stars, revenue and positive sentiment. However according to Harvard Business School about 95 percent of new consumer products fail. As a brand your chance to succeed is to give your employees PCs and not send them back to the mainframe to stand in line. Only this way they will get the insights they need to win the war.

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