Data Rich but Insight Poor: How Companies are Missing The Point


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Customer insights are crucial to a business’ success and there are massive benefits of integrating more customer insight, namely delivering high quality, relevant customer experiences which lead to increased customer satisfaction or retention, new innovations, and increased sales. 

Yet, recent predictions from Forrester suggest that most companies are still struggling to put unobtrusive, useful insights programs into place. Companies are “drowning” their customers in surveys and faltering in attempts to build in-house consumer insights platforms. What’s more is that only 15% of companies believe their organizations are operating with an effective customer experience strategy.

But what can companies do to remedy this? This article outlines key insights about how marketers and researchers can tailor their customer insights strategies to drive business success. 

Break Down Silos – Encourage Combined Teams

One hindrance to successful customer insights is a lack of collaboration across departments. Only 54% of marketers report that customer insights and marketing regularly communicate with one another. While research departments are equipped to gather, analyze and translate customer data, marketers must also be able to understand and leverage this data to inform and execute successful strategies. 

For researchers, this means that sharing data in digestible formats that enable self-service insights is critical so that others in the organization can more efficiently leverage insights. Research technology has proven itself to be a critical part of every marketing stack and needs to be on the radar of all tech investors because the CX wave is now in full swing. Further, for research professionals, this provides a prime opportunity to become strategic business partners amidst the transition to CX-centric marketing. 

Integrate Big and Small Data to Maximize Insights 

We’re living in a data-driven world — companies have spent years building databases, data sources, and data-driven strategies, but companies still struggle with effectively operationalizing data to understand customers and predict business outcomes. Often, it’s wrongly believed that CRM data will reveal how customers think and feel and over-rely on big data (e.g. web analytics, clickstreams, social media interactions) to inform their overall customer strategy. However, small data (e.g. user surveys, interviews and focus groups, and mobile diaries) helps understand attitudes and emotions behind behaviors. Once combined, brands can unlock customer understanding and open the door to business opportunities.

Tap into Customer Emotions 

Our research with Forrester, How Customers Think, Feel, And Act: The Paradigm Of Business Outcomes, found that feeling has a 1.5x greater impact on driving sales, brand loyalty and advocacy when compared with other factors. The way customers think, feel, and act about a brand can have a significant impact on the bottom line, which makes emotion a powerful asset.

The Bottom Line?

2020 could potentially be a trying year for brands, but those with strong CX strategies will rise to the top. Changing customer behaviors and market forces portend difficult times for brands ahead of a looming recession and ever-increasing customer expectations. Knowing this, it’s essential that brands cement their strategies to understand their customers to build solid customer experiences.

Zoe Dowling, Ph.D.
Zoe Dowling, Ph.D. is FocusVision’s SVP of research. With a background across industries, she has concentrated on the online world since the 1990s. She specializes in respondent engagement for web and mobile surveys, and qualitative approaches related to online communities and interview techniques. She is a regular speaker on topics relating to consumer insights, new technologies and storytelling.


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