February 13, 2016

Your goals for 2016, keeping focussed on value & growth

By Paul Laughlin

goalsThanks to all of you who participated in this year’s annual survey of Customer Insight goals.

Looking at the results, the first thing that strikes me is the similarity of results to the ones you chose last year. So, there is definitely a theme of consistency. It seems many of you continue to be prioritising making a measurable commercial difference in your businesses and investing in your own leadership ability.

Alongside that consistency, there is also more variety in goals selected this year.

After the top two, a wider range of options have been chosen for joint third place. This perhaps reflects both the growing diversity of our readers and the greater breath and diversity in their roles.

Having talked to many insight leaders over the last year, especially across Financial Services, it seems no one preferred structure of resourcing model has emerged. There are leaders with a primarily database-marketing, analytics, data or research focus, fewer with combinations of those remits & many with other responsibilities in their ‘mix’ (like BI, reporting, risk, customer experience, strategy or operational efficiency).

It seems clear that the Customer Insight Leader role is still in a state of flux.

But let’s get to those goal choices. What have most of your peers chosen as their goals for 2016?

Your top two choices (with 17% each) are:

  • Improved measurable commercial impact from applying insights. Hopefully some of our content to date on measuring marketing effectiveness has helped, as well as advice on business cases. I will look to include more content on both measurement & financial measures in future months.
  • Your leadership. Continuing to invest in developing your own leadership capability is also a theme I’ve heard in conversation with leaders. Sadly, it seems many struggle to get internal support/funding for the leadership coaching which would help them most. But, meanwhile, I hope content here on coaching & leadership themes is helpful.

Those interesting third choices (with 11% each), span 5 different goals:

  • Improvements in technical capability across your team. Given the growing focus on Data Science & the increasingly technical expectations of the data scientist role, this is not a surprise. Many businesses will find the candidates they recruit don’t possess all the technical skills they need or are unfamiliar with the commercial software used in their business. Despite the amount of content on this blog about softer skills, leadership development, strategy & customer focus – technical excellence does still matter. Hopefully some of our content on tools, especially those to help with data visualisation or newer research methods is helping.
  • Specific goal(s) related to analytics. This appears to align closely with the one above. Particularly amongst FS firms, many appear to still be seeking to increase their use of analytics across the business, facing new business challenges as they go. To help these analysts be effective in achieving business goals, I recommend looking at both the 9-step-model summary and consider the softer skills as well as technical excellence they will need to influence senior stakeholders.
  • Improved measurable customer experience improvement from applying insights. I’m glad to see this goal complementing the one focussed on measurable commercial outcomes. In my experience the maximum profitable growth comes from keeping your focus on both impacting this year’s commercials with insight & improving customer experiences for longer term retention & customer development. Hopefully our customer experience content, especially from guest bloggers, is helping you with that.
  • Balance in your life. With so much media coverage of people’s desire for work-life balance, or the impossibility of achieving this, it would be surprising not to see this. Plus, it’s really important to achieving all the other goals. If you are burnt out or depressed, you are much less likely to achieve the others. For that reason, I’ll continue to share a wider range of more holistic leadership content to help in this regard; like recent theme on the importance of sleep for leaders.
  • Stakeholder management. This last of the 5, is also critical to customer insights being acted upon to improve those commercial numbers or customer scores. Without the ability to effectively manage & influence stakeholders, too many times insights end up back on the shelf without the decisions needed being taken. Hopefully, some of the content on managing stakeholder in projects & influencing senior leaders has been helpful. This feels like another theme where I will look to bring in more content.

What do you think? Do you agree? If not, there is still time to vote with your goals or let me know what you will be prioritising this year (in comments box below).

Good luck with your goals. May you have a successful & effective 2016, a year of which you can be proud! We will check back in on your progress later in the year.

Do let me know if there is any other content you’d like to see, or have to share, to help all our readers on the above topics.