Put Insights at the Heart of Buyer-Focused Strategies

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Business leaders must aspire for human-centered insights, not just intelligence

Many businesses today, in their marketing and sales operations, have an insatiable thirst for data and intelligence about their buyers and customers.  The last two decades have seen a rapid rise in multiple forms of analytics and intelligence applications.  Starting with simplified data software programs to burgeoning artificial intelligence capabilities.  What we now see is a myriad combination of data-centric efforts by organizations.  Put forth in their quest to know more about buyers and customers. Doing so with the holy grail of aspirations.  Gaining insights that inform and can be acted up to achieve growth. 

What business leaders today need to be on guard for is this.  That the acts of processing information and gathering intelligence become the dominant center of strategies related to buyers and customers.  Without realizing it, organizations can create the effect of a hamster on a wheel.  Failing to get off the wheel to achieve the aspiration of gaining critical insights.

The processing and production of data, information, and intelligence can turn into an overwhelming burden.  It is expensive.  Thus, figuring out the return on data-centric technologies can become an obsession.

The business leaders of tomorrow must be apt at balancing data-centered intelligence with human-centered intelligence.  An easy way to think about this is through input.  Data-centric intelligence requires input from data.  Human-centric intelligence requires input from humans.  The balancing of these two forms of information and intelligence processing can lead to human-centered insights. 

In what seems like a century ago, I opinioned in 2018 that human-centric insights will become a matter of survival in 2020.  Little did I know that the pandemic would cause this perspective to be realized in an urgent way.  The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the most profound ongoing human behavioral changes in the 21st century to date.  Creating an urgent need to understand and act upon human-centered insights.  For companies today, whether B2C or B2B, acting upon human-centered insights about their buyers and customers is truly a matter of survival. 

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the concept of human-centered design or human-interaction design was born.  And user research and user personas were originated to convey human-centered insights about user behaviors.  With this experience in hand, I set out to create the same concept for buyers. Originating buyer research and buyer personas to gain human-centered insights about buying behaviors.  Here we are over twenty years later and the need for human-centered insights, both for users and buyers, has never been greater.

As we look ahead into an uncertain future, the business leaders of tomorrow must transition from putting data and intelligence at the primary center of their strategies.  Instead, develop the wherewithal and skill to put human-centered insights at the heart of their strategies. 

I use the word heart purposely. The concept of human-centered design was derived from a desire to help people achieve their needs and goals.  To make products and services work for the common good of people.  The pandemic has brought the desire to elevate for the common good more than any time in the last two decades. 

Processes and tools such as data analytics, intelligence applications, AI, customer journey mapping, personas, etc. are the means to uncover human-centered insights.  Insights that not only help companies to accelerate their growth but also elevate their contribution to the common good of humankind. 

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