November 2018 - Insight for commercial success

What's the big idea?

Over the past 15 years, one key question hanging over Insight has been whether it is possible to demonstrate the return on investment.

What started as a resounding 'no, it can't be done' has become a definite 'yes'.

Over that time, many of the associated challenges that have come to light have helped shape the IMA's thinking, and we have produced a comprehensive toolkit to help Insight teams. These include ways of thinking, and working, that focus the mind on putting financial numbers to the value that Insight teams are tasked with identifying.

But many of the ways of working have not become embedded, with Insight teams remaining apprehensive about the idea of it being 'all about the money', when our typical focus is much more on being objective experts on the customer and the market.

So at the 55th meeting of the Insight Forum in London, members spent the day reflecting on how we can crack the topic of commerciality.

What does it mean to be commercial?

To be commercial:

  • Our companies must understand the customer
  • And their interactions with the organisation
  • And the value exchange which takes place

To achieve sustainable commercial success, organisations need to develop a joined up model embracing these three elements, Not only do Insight teams need to participate in this exercise to supply the customer understanding, there is a good case for them leading it, as they have the skills to synthesise evidence from multiple sources, identify key stats and messages, and communicate complex arguments with clarity.

Customer and Market Insight is therefore integral to the whole concept of commerciality. A company cannot be said to be commercial without it.

So our proposal is that the questions to address are not:

  • Should our Insight teams be more commercial?
  • If so, how could we make that happen?

They are:

  • How can Insight help organisations to be more commercial?
  • What tools and behaviour should we develop to make that happen?

These are exciting times, as this repositioning will most certainly open the door to Insight teams becoming the conduit to organisations being more successful.

Many thanks to the members who shared their experience on this at the event, with speakers from Premier Foods, Abcam, Tesco, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Yodel, Transport for Greater Manchester and The Football Association. All these companies and others are making significant in-roads into helping their organisations be more commercial.

Access to the event slides

If your organisation is a member of the IMA's Insight Forum and you are signed in, you will be able to download the event slides from the link displayed below.

If your organisation is not yet a member, but is interested in attending Insight Forum events, please contact us for more information.