CEOs Say Actionable Customer Insights are Critical

IBM recently published the 2012 IBM CEO Study Leading Through Connections. This study was based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,700 chief executive officers and public sector leaders based in 64 countries around the world. The objective of the study was to gauge the perspective of CEOs and public sector leaders on emerging trends and issues. IBM has conducted this study every two years since 2004.

In the 2012 study, CEOs identified technology as the most important external factor that will impact their organization over the next three to five years. Just as important, it appears that CEOs are changing their opinions about technology’s primary role in the organization. IBM says the view that technology is primarily a driver of efficiency is outdated and that CEOs now believe the most important role of technology is to enable collaboration and relationships – between an enterprise and its customers, business partners, and employees, and among those same stakeholders.

On the marketing/sales front, CEOs want to drive improved performance by engaging customers as individuals. The IBM study found that 73% of CEOs are making significant investments in their organizations’ ability to gain meaningful customer insights from available data.

To effectively engage with individual prospects and customers, you need three distinct capabilities, all of which require the right technology tools.

  • Data – The first key capability is to obtain and/or collect data at the individual level. For most large enterprises, having enough data is no longer the main issue. If anything, the volume of data available in most large companies can be overwhelming. One of the CEOs interviewed for the IBM study said it is like ‘drinking from a fire hose’.
  • Insights – The second key requirement is the ability to extract meaningful insights from the available data. IBM says that CEOs now recognize the need for more sophisticated analytical capabilities and tools, such as predictive modeling.
  • Action – The final critical requirement is the ability to translate insights into action. Even if your company collects an abundance of data and develops important customer insights, these insights have little value until you act on them. To translate insights into action, you need a suite of marketing execution technologies that will typically include digital asset management, marketing process/workflow automation, campaign management, and robust personalization.

The IBM study shows that all three of these capabilities are linked to superior performance. According to the study, high performing companies have more access to relevant data, greater capacity to extract meaningful insights from the data, and, perhaps most important, a greater ability to execute marketing activities based on those insights.

This post was previously published on the Adam Software Blog.

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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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