Part three of a blogpost series on the InSites Consulting company values. Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it will have to run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it will have to outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun rises, you’d better start running.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill
In times of economic recession and its subsequent downward pressure on marketing budgets, marketing increasingly needs to prove its value, demonstrating its ‘ROMI’ or ‘Return on Marketing Investment’. The proliferation of ‘big data’ together with more advanced marketing mix modeling techniques creates additional pressure on marketers to justify their spending. Only recently, Mr. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, confirmed that he is keeping all of his businesses to a minimum ROI: “We know we’re not winning like we know we can, we simply have to execute better.” Not an easy assignment: traditional marketing approaches and media are facing declining impact, marketing savvy consumers easily see through brands’ commercial tactics and competitors are copying faster and better than ever before.
Getting to results means you need to be bloody serious about it, taking every opportunity to move forward in the strategic direction you have set out. Colruyt, one of the leading food retailers in Belgium, is a great example in the matter. Acting as a cost leader, its discounter image clearly shows when you enter its headquarters in Halle (near Brussels). Following its mission statement “efficient shopping at the lowest price”, Colruyt clearly understands it can only live up to that promise through cost leadership. It reduces everything to its bare essence: toilets do not have a lid, reducing cleaning costs, parking spaces are marked with 2 lines instead of 3, reducing costs of paint, the cost of sending a specific e-mail is calculated and made visible to the sender of the message, etc. The result is impressive: turnover per square meter is twice that of an average supermarket, investments per square meter are half those of an average supermarket.
As a result of the above, driving and demonstrating impact is the name of the game for agencies offering professional marketing services. It is less about what we do and how we do it, but rather about how much of a difference we make. Hence ‘result-driven’ is one of the core values we cherish and nurture.
Talking about where to make a difference, we don’t like to think we are in the business of marketing research, but rather in the business of facilitating collaboration between brands and consumers. We get to results for our clients in 3 different ways through a brand/consumer collaboration.
Knowledge impact: helping brands to get to the future first
An insight in itself is worth nothing, it is all about what we do with it. We help our clients get to smart and relevant insights in an agile way and activate insights into ideas and choices which make a difference. Using a range of engaging consumer connection methods and inspiring our clients with new marketing thinking, we don’t stop when we understand how and why consumers act the way they do. Consumer insights are used as the essential steppingstone towards co-creating relevant solutions, merging ideas from employees with those of consumers and polishing them into solid concepts and solutions. We measure ‘return on knowledge’ in various ways:
- For H.J. Heinz, we were able to prove that our unique insight activation method using crowd interpretation generates 20% to 40% unique additional insights on top of insight generation methods formerly deployed by the company.
- We measure the potential business impact of insights through our insight validation method.
- We assess the value of ideation and benchmark how consumer-generated ideas rate versus the ones generated in-company. Data from H.J. Heinz revealed that, while in-company ideas typically tend to outperform in terms of perceived uniqueness, consumer-generated ideas score far better in terms of perceived relevance as outlined in the picture.
Internal impact: taking your people on board
We unite people inside organizations around the consumer, from the cleaning lady all the way up to the boardroom. By positively affecting internal stakeholders’ hearts, minds and actions through the consumer dialogue, we help employees take the consumer along every step of their way. We drive individual engagement around the importance of consumer centricity by creating ‘disruptive’ eye openers. An example of this is our GenYus quiz allowing people to assess how well they are connected to Generation Y.
Next to driving engagement, we boost inspiration by allowing employees to directly connect with consumers and to learn from that dialogue. An internal ‘consumer news’ platform allows them to digest and further discuss among each other. The ultimate goal is to change the hearts, minds and actions of your people. We want them to think differently, taking the position of the consumer perspective and mindset more than they currently do and translating it into their daily job practices. Among Unilever R&D employees, we were able to realize a relative increase of 81% in terms of ‘knowing how consumers decide which products to buy’ after the immersion exercise versus before.
External impact: spreading brand enthusiasm
By bringing consumers up and close with brands and inviting them to the central nerve system of brand decision making, we help create a perfect storm for brand enthusiasm. By bringing together a unique crowd of interested, interesting and influential consumers and engaging them through unique brand interactions, we drive enthusiasm of consumers to start making a difference for brands. We convert the inspiration we get from the consumer/brand dialogue into meaningful content which is relevant and authentic, fueling brand-related conversations and actions. A case in point is the Philips espresso Community where we worked together with 50 super fans of Philips Saeco appliances. The core focus of the initiative was to drive understanding of what Philips needs to ‘feed’ to fans in order to keep them loving and promoting its products to peers.
InSites Consulting resembles the gazelle rather than the lion. We need to run faster than the fastest lions out there. Action is the foundational key to all success, Pablo Picasso said. Obtaining results means working hard, embracing failure and not settling for ‘good enough’. It pays off: we have grown our overall business with 17% versus last year, boosted our ‘Consumer Consulting Board’ share of business to more than 40% and witnessed customer satisfaction levels rise to an all-time high.
But let’s not forget: good is the enemy of great, so we’ll keep raising the bar!