Human-Centric Insights: A Matter Of Survival In 2020


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As is most common in businesses today, there is enormous pressure to achieve short-term immediate results.  Today’s hyper-focused mode of operating on the short leash can make it difficult for business leaders to step back, gather critical customer insights, and take a long-term view.  Yet, the necessity to do just that has never been more pronounced as now.

Chief Marketing Officers, Customer Success Officers, and Chief Sales Officers, in particular, can benefit from taking a long-term view.  Investing in human-centric forms of insights gathering with aims of being ready to adapt to new buying behaviors and customer expectations in 2020.

“The most critical capability of the CMO is to have a profound deep understanding of customers and their needs and know how to engage with and serve them.” -Jamie Moldafsky, CMO, Wells Fargo

What is important to note is the need for human-centric forms of insights.  The growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can most certainly be informative and insightful.  As many business leaders are finding, relying on just AI alone is risky.  The human elements of thinking and behaving are the most difficult to access and to understand.  Yet, paramount to truly being able to connect with customers.

Human-Centric insights

Living in a data-driven world day in and day out can make it easy to lose sight of the importance of understanding human elements that do not show up in data alone.  As we approach a new decade in just a little over a year, this importance will only grow.

What are critical human elements of insights leaders will need in order to enter 2020 successfully?

Context Gets To The “Why”

No matter how much data, analytics, and artificial intelligence we throw at it, the only sure way to understand why certain decisions are made is through human-centric insight gathering.  Without question, as we fast approach a new decade, we will need deeper insights into why people are making the decisions they are. One way to get to “why” is by understanding the context surrounding why decisions are made.  You can bet that context that is meaningful today to a decision will change again by 2020.  A critical area to stay up to date on.

Choices And Choosing

How people make choices is hard to isolate with data and analytics alone.  Understanding, for example, how two people come together to make a choice can be vastly different when ten people are involved.  Now, we have to consider how people are digitally enabled to make choices.  How much more different will they be enabled by 2020 is key human-centric insights needed by CMO’s and other leaders.

Digital Experiences

The ease and speed at which decisions can be made today will only get faster by 2020.  Creating a digital experience for customers and buyers with built-in ease and speed is a challenge facing many companies today.  New digital technologies mean that expectations for experiences will change rapidly every time new technologies and platforms are introduced.  Staying abreast of how experience expectations will continue to change has to be part of any insights-gathering plan.

How We Work

Plain and simple, how we work today has changed drastically in the last decade.  And, we are heading for more drastic changes by 2020.  The way people communicate and network have undergone an enormous transformation.  Yet, transformations that have taken place may only represent the tip of the iceberg of what is coming on the horizon in the new decade of 2020.

Preparing in 2019 – A Matter of Survival

A clear mandate for leaders is to restructure insights gathering to include qualitative human-centric elements.  One of the issues that have plagued such gathering is they have suffered from a “snapshot in time” mentality.  Qualitative in nature, they can appear to have an expiration date.  Modern challenges and approaches call for ongoing human-centric insights gathering.

It comes down to a matter of survival.  Without gathering human-centric insights and making adaptive changes, an organization lowers its chances of sustaining considerably.  And, leaves itself prone to new organizations who can come in and fill gaps.

What organizations today will need to prepare for by 2020, is the bar of entry into new markets will be lower than ever.  Meaning the ability for newer models and technologies to disrupt existing markets will be that must easier.

The ability to leapfrog entities behind on human-centric insights will no longer be that big of a jump.

Article by Tony Zambito

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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