Over the years a great deal of material has been compiled about the financial performance of purpose-driven companies obsessed with delivering optimum customer experience and value. Customer-centricity, essentially having a single integrated view of the customer across the enterprise, requires both strategic focus and discipline, but it rewards those organizations practicing it well with strong cultures and superior financial performance.
The most recent proof of how well customer-centricity monetizes comes from a study (Insights 2020 – Driving Customer-Centric Growth) by Millward Brown Vermeer, in partnership with the ARF, ESOMAR, LinkedIn, Kantar, and Korn Ferry. The research study was undertaken to help develop a strategic framework and practical guidelines to assist marketing and insights leaders. Goals of this initiative were to understand the drivers of customer-centricity and how, as a customer-focused enterprise, this impacted business performance. Specifically, its objectives were to:
– define the role of insights and analytics in driving business strategy and growth
– build and organize the insights function, in terms of structure and processes, for success, and
– emulate the leadership, cultural and enterprise competencies and behaviors of over-performing companies
The study was conducted from March, 2015 through September, 2015 among more than 300 senior marketing and insights leaders, plus over 10,000 interviews with practitioners, and in 60 different countries around the world. It was augmented with online behavior analysis by LinkedIn. Essentially, and as noted above, the research team evaluated factors behind companies that over-performed and under-performed on revenue growth to better understand what was driving financial success.
As reported within the study, the research identified significant differences between over-performers and under-performers. It zeroed-in on three dimensions of customer-centricity: a) focus on total experience, b) customer obsession, and c) having an insights engine.
Major findings included the following:
– 83% of companies over-performing on financial results link everything the enterprise does to its stated brand purpose. Among under-performing companies, only 31% reported this kind of focus.
– 62% of companies over-performing on financial results leverage insights and analytics to create consistency across all customer touchpoints. Among under-performing companies, only 26% did this.
– 78% of the over-performing companies reported that customer-centricity is fully embraced by all functions within the enterprise. Among under-performing companies, only 12% did this.
– 66$ of companies over-performing on financials actively work to connect, or integrated, their various streams of data. Among under-performing companies, only 33% reported doing this.
– 33% of the companies over-performing on financial results reported that the insights and analytics function reports straight to the CEO. Among under-performing companies, this was only true for 13%
Sponsors of the study have identified its values as providing a clear list of focus areas and practical application for helping organizations reach higher levels of customer-centricity. As noted by the Insights20202 global program leader, Frank van den Driest (Chief Commercial Officer, Millward Brown Vermeer): “Insights2020 found that companies that out-perform their peers on revenue growth do so by over-performing on key drivers of customer-centricity. With a robust and global sample, we are able to quantify the financial opportunity for any business……The connection is clear and it is time to elevate insights and analytics to the boardroom.”