Building an Insights Engine
In this article, it introduces the characteristics of the most successful company and what makes them win other competitors. The company not only need to have leaner manufacturing, made higher-quality products, or had superior distribution, but also they need to truly and deeply understand their customers' needs and fulfilling them better than their competitors with the support of useful marketing data. The idea of "Insights Engine" is the ability that it turns a huge amount of data which have little value in and of itself into useful insights about consumers' motivations and transform them into organizational strategy and hence it can significantly become a competitive advantages of the organization and separates the winners from the losers. The "Insights Engine" can be a set of structures, people, and processes that make the transformation successful. Thanks to the i2020 research and the experience at Unilever, the article summarizes and describe 10 characteristics of superior insights engines that help high-performing organizations to achieve the aim of customer centricity. And it can be further divide into two different main groups which is operational characteristics, like functional independence and experimental orientation, and people characteristics, like business acumen and well-balanced analytic and creative thinking styles.
For operational characteristics, it included seven major characteristics that influence the operations of insights engines and it is important for a superior insights and analytics group.The first characteristics is data synthesis. The advantages of larger company against the small one is because they can have the capability to do a larger scale of market research so that it can generate many data as well as finding out the important information from it so as to link up the disparate data sources. It is very common for high-performing organizations across the industries to use the data in this way. The author used the examples of i2020 research and the CMI of Unilever to further support the mentioned points that synthesizing data is one of the major factors. The second characteristics is independence which means it need to have independent from other functions and outside marketing and it is required to report frequently to the CEO, the chief strategy officer, or the chief experience officer. For instance, according to the i2020 research, the insights leaders in over-performing organizations report to upper management levels more than two times as often as their counterparts in underperforming organizations do. The author further strengthens the argument by using the example of Unilever as the world's second-largest media spender which will do the same practice as the i2020 research found out and it shows the similar result again. The integrated planning which is integrally involved in business planning. The business- and brand-planning cycle is the key driving force behind strategy development and execution and it is critical for the company to win the market competition. The arrangement of resources and budgets and also the company overall performance is important and need to be monitored in order to achieve the company goals. Moreover, the experimentation is also a key point and it is about the willingness to experiment with new technologies and programs as the i2020 research shows that over-performing companies which have a culture of experimentation are three times better than the underperformers. Also, the forward-looking orientation means future oriented. It is the ability of company to predict the future and better prepare for the situation in the future.
The last one is the affinity for action which is the company is active in strategic decision making and it make them focus on the insights functions on strategy but not only on data.
For people characteristics, there are three primary traits for people who are part of the insights engine
The first trait is whole-brain mindset and we need to think creatively as well as analytically because in the past employees of insights organizations focused on analytics which is focus on left-brain orientation. But now we should adopt whole-brain mindset and start to think holistically, exercising creative and use the right-brain skills as well. Thus, it is important for high-performing organizations to have left-brain and right-brain tasks and approaches as the research revealed that over-performers are more likely to use whole-brain mindset. The second trait is business