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Want to Double Your ROI? 3 Ways to Become More Insights-Driven

Key takeaways from “The Insights-Driven Organization” originally shared as a guest post on the Product School Blog

2x the ROI. That's the edge that insights-driven organizations have over their competitors. But what does it mean to be driven by insights? And how do you even start?

It all comes down to the data. How you capture it, how you analyze it, and how you act on it. Or rather: whether your System of Insights does all of that for you.

At Heap’s recent virtual event “The Insights-Driven Organization,” I hosted a panel discussion during which leading growth and digital insights experts shared key strategies for developing trustworthy insights from your customer data. From the benefits of using insights to power your business decisions, to best practices for aligning your organization around a deeper understanding of customer behavior, here are some of the key takeaways from the event.

But first, why is insight about your digital properties and being “insight-driven” so important?

We’ve all seen how a pandemic transformed and accelerated our use of digital products. I have many friends that stopped going to grocery stores, and probably won’t ever go back. I even got my aunt to use Zoom!

Whether it’s a consumer app or a product you are using for work, there is now no tolerance for unintuitive or poor performance. In fact, in a recent survey we ran, 36% of respondents would rather be stuck in rush hour traffic than use a bad website.

There’s a real competitive advantage to be had by the companies that create easy and delightful digital experiences. But to do that it’s imperative to understand your users’ behavior deeply enough so that you know where they are running into challenges and how you can best improve their experience.

In the following section, I’d like to share with you insights from Forrester Vice President & Research Director Gene Leganza on the correlation between using customer data and driving growth.

The value of being insights-driven

We all know that customer data is important. In fact, Forrester research shows that firms are significantly increasing their data and analytics budgets. With the digital transformation comes mounds of customer behavioral data. And yet companies are still at a loss for how to effectively produce insights from all the data that they have.

Too many teams are drowning in data, and yet starving for insight. It’s no longer enough for businesses to be data-driven. To stand out, you need to be driven by insights.

According to Forrester’s annual Maturity Assessment, there’s a direct correlation between businesses being more advanced in using customer insights and making more money. An insights-driven business (IDB) harnesses and implements digital insights strategically and at scale to drive growth and create differentiating experiences, products, and services.

In fact, compared with beginner firms, advanced insights-driven businesses are 2.8 times more likely to report double-digit year-over-year growth. And 31% of advanced businesses say that their ability to drive new revenue streams is a primary benefit of using data, versus 17% of beginners.

(Download Forrester’s Report on The Total Economic Impact of Heap to see how surfacing digital insights faster can lead to significant cost savings.)

Forrester finds correlation between IDB maturity and tangible business benefits

However, while maturity is improving in the early stages of the insights-driven journey, the majority of organizations are still at the beginner level. That’s right: there’s a good chance that your company is stuck at the beginner stage of leveraging digital insights.

3 Ways to move towards proactive insights

But don’t worry — I’ve got 3 strategies to share with you from our panelists that will help your team mature in how you use customer insights to drive your business.

1. Establish clear data governance processes

Organization is key to aligning your company around customer insights. It doesn’t matter how much data you have if teams don’t know how to access it, (or worse) if they don’t even trust it. Effective data governance requires you to think about integrating systems: people, process, technology, and knowledge.

Develop rigor around how your company maintains and understands customer behavior with data governance counsels. These small, cross-functional teams start by aligning on simple questions like: how do we define a user or a customer?

(Download our ebook on data governance to discover strategies for keeping large sets of behavioral data well-governed and flexible.)

2. Collaborate cross-functionally

In beginner-level organizations, data exists in silos and a lack of cross-functional collaboration results in missed opportunities, as people lack the processes needed to put insights into practice.

Becoming insights-driven is really a team sport. Advanced insights-driven firms collaborate obsessively. Working across marketing, product, and data teams provides lateral opportunities for customer insights to impact the business. By relying on self-service analytics tools to democratize access to data, advanced businesses get teams across the organization involved in acting on insights.

(We've put together this Guide to Doing Product Analytics Right to outline all that your analytics tool should be able to do for you.)

3. Automate to drive agility

Extremely agile product development is only possible when you have an insights tool that automatically captures all of the digital interactions with your site or product. If you then layer proactive data science and ML capabilities on that complete set of user behavioral data, you’ll be able to zero in on hidden points of friction and uncover the areas of greatest opportunity.

One of the biggest barriers to insights is tracking implementation. Manual event tracking tools require significant engineering resources, and are still only able to capture the customer interactions you think are important.

(Check out our guide to event tracking to see how manual tracking compares to automatic data collection.)

In order to truly become insights-driven, companies are automating data collection, governance, and analysis with data science and ML, saving valuable time and resources, while ensuring a complete picture of product usage.

The bottom line

There's a competitive advantage to be had by the companies that create easy and delightful digital experiences. But to do that it’s imperative to understand your users' behavior deeply enough so that you know where they are running into challenges. It’s not enough to have data, you need insight.