It was great to be at ESOMAR Edinburgh with Robert Adams, VP Global Human Insights at VISA last week. We presented Visa’s case study for their successful Global Insights Exchange platform on the Innovate stage, amidst dozens of new research technologies that coexist in a martech landscape with thousands of tools.
It was the perfect context for our message – to successfully deploy new technology you have to bring together human behavior, good governance, and best in class technology. And this is exactly how Visa achieved their “Transformation, the high-tech way”.
Visa’s insight organization
Robert gave the audience a sense for Visa’s history as a federation of regional organizations that unified quite recently. He said Visa’s insights organization knew they needed to change information-sharing culture to accelerate efficiency and streamline request flows. The team wanted to create a collective mind trust for regional subject expertise, and harmonize ways of working across teams, functions, and borders. This involved fully automating the research management process from the business request to the publication of the results.
Of course, that’s completely in line with Market Logic hears from many leading consumer brands – the first behavior they need to change is the time it takes to answer business questions – then they can pursue opportunities to build and promote knowledge as proactive advisors.
Positive ROI within 12 months
Robert described how the behavioral shift began in earnest two years ago, when Visa decided it needed a way to share insights globally. He said the lost opportunity costs for performing research tasks manually, not to mention the wasted spend on duplicated research projects, were too high. So in addition to knowledge sharing, the Insights Exchange fully automates the research process, from the business request to publication of the results.
“We looked for inefficiencies to prove the business case. We asked, ‘what can be improved, behaviorally, to get the efficiencies we need?’” – Robert Adams
With the business case solidly in place, Visa launched their Market Logic platform – the Global Insights Exchange – with a winning activation campaign that included brand identity, a sizzle real (they are marketers, after all!), information sessions with global stakeholders, and a townhall with the CMO.
Many insights leaders scope efficiency and effectiveness gains when they make the case for change, but in Visa’s case, governance really followed through to measure the results. Robert said his Finance and IT departments had closely investigated the deployment, reporting that the Exchange had exceeded all their efficiency savings targets. Even better, Market Logic’s platform is the first technology application at Visa that has achieved positive ROI in less than a year.
Instant answers under pressure
Behind the big efficiency gains, there are many success stories. Robert described a situation where the Exchange helped him personally, under pressure, when one of the company’s top lawyers was researching a highly sensitive matter and needed information on two strategic topics, fast. He called Robert, whose first thought was, “I’ll have to reach out to some overseas colleagues… this will take weeks!” But then a lightbulb went on: The Exchange! Robert typed in the first topic and saw a list of 146 findings. One click later, he had a neat and tidy report.
The second topic was a little more obscure, but the search surfaced 12 findings from research conducted in APAC and an equally tidy report. He sent both reports to the lawyer, complete with links for follow up source checks, within 15 minutes of the call. Needless to say, the lawyer was amazed and called Robert back a few minutes later to ask how he did it.
Behavioural change isn’t simply the outcome when the software works, it’s also a key input. I outlined the human-centric design thinking methodology we use to develop our software, and then shared the outlook for ongoing innovations at Visa. We have jointly identified two areas for development: platform integrations and an AI-powered marketing assistant.
Visa will integrate The Exchange with their Digital Asset Management system, so marketers can see the insights that drove creative development to make the right campaign choices. We’re also integrating Visa’s procurement system to eliminate paperwork across the research function. The AI-powered assistant will provide a conversational interface to walk marketers through a job to be done, offering relevant insights along the way.
Robert said the common goal for our teams is to continue to work the technology to make it easy for Visa to become the most creative and impactful data-led marketers and communicators – driving more use of insights in more processes with efficient work practices.
“Today, we go to the knowledge. Tomorrow, the knowledge will come to us.” – Robert Adams
We’re looking forward to sharing and update at next year’s Congress in Toronto!