This past year, I attended Forrester’s Data Strategy & Insights 2018 Forum. As I sat down to breakfast on the first day, I joined two attendees from a multinational package delivery and supply chain management company. During our conversation, they commented that they felt “behind” other attendees in terms of their analytics prowess. I might have been stunned — the idea that representatives of this juggernaut logistics firm felt behind when it comes to analytics wouldn’t have seemed logical to me — if I hadn’t already delved into research about the applications of analytics in B2B and B2B2C.
The hypothesis that I tested for that research posited that in B2B and B2B2C, firms have made great strides in applying analytics to growth or prioritizing analytics resources on efficiency; firms that explore both paths with equal rigor, however, are very hard to come by.
So it was less of a surprise to me that delegates from this company felt unsure of their standing among the crowd of data, analytics, and insights pros. From a customer insights perspective, they could empathize with being laggards despite competitive-advantage-level mastery of analytics with which they continuously increase efficiency in logistics, supply chain, and other operations.
Like many firms, this one played to its strengths, doubling down on capabilities that reinforce aptitude on the growth or efficiency side. But given the ongoing pressure from all directions — customers who demand easy, personalized, and relevant experiences; margins that won’t sustain; and competitive threats that emerge and evolve constantly — it’s time to break through the wall and bring a broader portfolio of analytics capabilities to bear.
In “The Untapped Opportunity For B2B Insights,” I make the case that businesses use analytics to invest in growth and manage for efficiency to achieve diverse goals and outcomes by leveraging four types of insights: customer and consumer; revenue growth; cost control and optimization; and operational.
- Customer and consumer insights enable customer intimacy and growth. Analytics efforts directed toward customer insights help firms understand the specific problems their target audience seeks to solve and support new and innovative ways to increase the value that customers find in their relationships with businesses.
- Revenue insights boost understanding of awareness and purchase drivers. Analytical rigor applied to revenue optimization powers smart decision making when it comes to go-to-market planning, sales and marketing performance management, and pricing strategies.
- Cost control and optimization insights maximize efficiency in dollars and time. Analytics applied to spend management, process efficiency, and fraud prevention pays off in cost savings and faster processes.
- Operational insights bolster product confidence and logistics reliability. Risk of all flavors is mitigated by the application of analytics to understand drivers and detractors of product quality, adherence to internal and external regulations, and process smoothness and reliability.
I’ll be doing some doubling down of my own this year, as I extend this research to help B2B and B2B2C firms build, maintain, and evolve analytics and insights programs across this portfolio of analytics. Check out this video to learn more.