Why is being insights-driven crucial for business success?

Throughout most industry discussions, the necessity of becoming “insights-driven” keeps popping up as a major topic. Here we take a look at what it means, and why is it so important for your...

Throughout most industry discussions, the necessity of becoming “insights-driven” keeps popping up as a major topic. Here we take a look at what it means, and why is it so important for your business in 2021.

Being insights-driven is a term that regularly pops up across numerous business discussions these days. However, despite that, decision makers often struggle to understand what being insights-driven really means or how to bring data and insights into their daily habits. One of the great advantages of businesses working directly with customers is that this gives them the opportunity to build rich, data-driven insights, and allows them to provide the added value that the customers are expecting.

“We have to put the data to work in everything that we do.”

John Veichmanis, COO at carwow

As COO of carwow, one of UK’s largest online car marketplaces, John Veichmanis emphasizes the importance of leveraging data to make informed decisions: “The most important aspect for me, and ultimately the thing I love doing as a leader, is empowering teams to use data to make decisions quickly, to provide them with more autonomy to take calculated risks and try things. To me, creating a culture where people can use data to try things, to question everything that we do, and build not just a better optimization stream, but question the overall strategy and generate new ideas that may impact the business’s future strategic priorities. That's how you generate a much better return on those assets.“

Data-driven marketing has become on of the hot industry topics in the last couple of years, but it’s not entirely clear what implications this brings. “I think it's a hot topic because most marketers want to use data, but they're largely using data to justify and explain expenditure, and try to explain results, or they're trying to use it right up front to devise a strategy in a reasonably ad-hoc way. So, I think the challenge for marketers today is rethinking how strategy gets formulated over a 5- or 10-year window,” says Andy Lark, a globally awarded CMO, teacher, and leader, now running a global consultancy enabling digital transformation for the world's leading enterprises.

“I think most marketers today are still struggling to get their hands on data.”

Andy Lark, consultant

Nowadays every company is, to a certain extent, a data company, and for people in the marketing and advertising industry this is clear, but may not be to decision makers in companies in other industries. Wes Nichols, Partner at March Capital and an active investor and board advisor to public and private companies, looks at this from his perspective of a marketing leader with decades of experience in the industry.

“Let me use a pharma company that I worked with a long time ago, 10 years ago, as an example. This company is a large producer of flu medicine and the CEO of that division every year was given a budget based on last year's flu season and sales. But, last year's flu season is generally quite different than the next year's flu season. And so, every year they were either way over budgeted or way under budgeted because it was some stupid allocation, like 4% or 5% allocation of budget.”

It wasn't until the company started building out a proper data set of what happened, what variables actually influenced the sale of this flu product, as opposed to just some backward-looking model that they were using, that they started to create predictive levers.

“It’s not that data is the new oil, as you hear a lot, it's more like the insights of the data is the new oil.”

Wes Nichols, partner at March Capital

“In this case, we had partnered early with Google on using query volume data to look at indicators. And out of the model, think of it as an investigative or forensic modelling exercise, we were able to find that you could see Google query searches for flu symptoms a few days before the medicine was prescribed. One thing that came out that was interesting was we saw bus ridership and metro ridership, public transportation numbers, go down several days before the flu symptoms started to be googled. And all of a sudden that gave a very interesting combination of tools that we could use to predictively prescribe marketing money based on markets that we're starting to see dips in public transportation ridership,” concludes Nichols.

That gave this company incredible tools to work with to completely crush the competition, who weren’t thinking of anything like this. And in this example you can clearly see the power of timely and innovative insights and their effect on the success of the business.

This blog post is a part of a series based on the recent panel discussion organized by Adverity.

If you want to see the complete conversation with John, Andy and Wes, click on the link below.