October 27, 2020

Read time: 6min

Insights platforms: delivering measurable success

Market Logic Team

At the Market Logic Insights Executive roundtable, we were joined by top insights executives who helped us understand the impact their platforms have had on the business. Leaders from Colgate-Palmolive and American Express helped us answer the question: how do you scale insights so marketers are empowered to make smarter decisions?

Scaling insights at AMEX

Phillip Chambers, Global VP Insights spoke from experience when he said the hardest thing for an insights leader to do is scale insights across the business. How can the function go beyond connecting business partners in a market with a research project, he asked? And is “insights” simply a group of people executing individual research projects, or a capability for marketers? Phillip hopes it’s the latter, fueled by the former.

Inside AMEX, Phillip told us that 50-something managers are tasked to deliver insights to over 3,500 marketeers – something that can’t be achieved by focusing on the traditional exchange when an expert presents new research results. On the basis of an internal survey his team executed across the business, his team articulated the challenge: “everyone knew insights were important, but everyone found them really hard to integrate.”

That’s why AMEX decided to develop their “Insights Hub”, where the mission is to connect every marketeer, every day, to enable them to make better decisions. With this mission top of mind, what began as a repository of secondary and primary research became an enterprise-wide platform that scales insights with search, industry news, knowledge curation and research automation. For Phillip, a key success factor is that the Insights Hub is highly personalized, so “it’s just as useful for a junior marketeer in Mexico as it is for the leader of the UK business”.

Consequently, usage numbers have been impressive, with 70% year-on-year growth. “The appetite for the platform is dramatic and engagement levels have surpassed all of our expectations”. Phillip shared that the 2020 target was 3,500 users, while actual numbers had already climbed to 4,500 users by Q3”.

Knowing what you know at Colgate

At Colgate, said Richard Thorogood, Global VP Consumer Insights, the “Driving Insights Globally,” or “DIG” platform, started out as an insights library. Now, it’s become a vehicle for driving utilization more broadly across R&D, marketing and sales. Even though DIG was originally “generated as an insights platform,” said Richard, “it’s clearly democratizing knowledge. And I think a company that knows what it knows will always make smarter decisions.”

DIG provides self-service access to answers for the business, industry news, knowledge curation, and fast execution of research projects, with transparent budget planning. Usage numbers are also booming, from the initial community of 100 or so experts to 1,500 business users. Richard added that the DIG platform has “stopped the insights team from being “gatekeepers” of knowledge by enabling anyone to access it. This really frees up the insights people to do what they need to do, which is driving impact and making smart choices for the company.”

DIG is home to a $300 million knowledge asset comprising 10,000 projects, all BASES, Ad Copy and Claim tests, MMM and Brand Health KPIs, secondary research from Euromonitor and Mintel, industry newsfeeds, and integrations to DIY platforms like Toluna.

According to Richard, DIG draws people in like YouTube: a user may go to the platform looking for one thing and quickly find 20 new pieces of relevant information. This experience is what keeps them coming back again and again, and it’s what Richard finds most rewarding about the experience. “It’s encouraging,” he said, “to see business users spending more time with insights every time they log on. DIG has transformed our team from the provider of a large number of insights to a purveyor of possibilities.”

Focusing on customers during tumultuous times

As one of Europe’s largest utility firms, Philippe de Loe from E.ON said the energy industry is undergoing significant shifts from renewables to sharing economies. In order to keep consumers front and center and enable better decision-making all around, the Customer & Market Insights team reached out to Market Logic to develop the “Insights Library.”

On the Insights Library, customer knowledge is concentrated around knowledge zones, where NPS scores and brand dashboards keep everyone on their toes (especially because NPS scores have become one of E.ON’s key executive bonus parameters).

In a survey among users, E.ON found that the Insights Library had allowed them to reduce their research time by 60%, for opportunity cost savings of up to $23 million! Those kinds of results made launching their next-gen Insights Library a “no brainer… it was a seamless handover.” All in all, Philippe said, “the Insights Library has saved us lots of hours with faster speed to insight.”

In summary: profound shifts

In summary remarks, Market Logic asked Phillip Chambers and Richard Thorogood about the impact of their platforms on the business. Phillip said the Insights Hub has brought a profound shift in the way AMEX thinks about its insights function. Before the Hub, the insights team had the tendency to “wait for the question to come, and then respond with projects.”

Now, the paradigm has flipped the relationship and deliveries, so insights provide projections, based on existing resources. Richard added that the DIG platform has freed up immense amounts of time for his insights team, by allowing stakeholders to get smarter at answering questions instead of being spoon-fed answers.

What’s more, DIG freed up knowledge and time for the insights team to focus on spectacular work during the COVID crisis, because they no longer had to answer rote questions.

But what of the impact of insights platforms on marketers? Phillip pointed out that having a central repository and curated knowledge zones have given marketers the opportunity to immerse themselves. “We’re seeing a return on every dollar we invest in insights,” he said, “whether it’s a million or 20 million dollars.”

In essence, said Phillip, the Insights Hub enables marketers to work smarter and sparks their desire to learn more than they did the year before. Echoing Phillip’s statements, Richard added, “at the end of the year, we want to make sure our commercial organization ends up being smarter than it was the year before, by making the knowledge that we acquire each year easily available.”