Dave Frankland [Posted by Dave Frankland]

One of my favorite elements of being an analyst is the time we spend helping marketers that are grappling with a key challenge within their firm. Since we launched the Customer Intelligence role last week, I’ve been spending a few minutes in most client inquiries and interactions explaining the shift in our research focus. The response, quite frankly, has been phenomenal.

What’s resonating so strongly? As Carl mentioned in his earlier post, CI professionals tend to be data-driven, technology focused, and customer-centric. I see a big part of our remit as actually helping CI professionals progress from being technology and data focused to having a strategic role as a customer steward inside the organization. On the one hand, CI involves the capture and analysis of customer data — whether its behavioral, attitudinal, social, transactional, whatever — to develop a rich understanding of customers. That in itself is admirable, but, crucially, customer intelligence should drive improvements in marketing, strategy, and business performance.

For a database marketer, a direct marketer, a CRM professional, or whatever term your firm uses to describe your job, the concept of delivering intelligence and helping to shape or drive marketing and business strategy is tremendously exciting for most of the folks that I’ve spoken to this week.

As it relates to the research we write, one of our first orders of business is to define the state of customer intelligence today. To that end, we’ve just conducted a survey of 301 Customer Intelligence Professionals. I’m knee deep in the data right now and am fascinated by some of the findings. Without scooping the research completely, one of the findings that really caught my attention is that while only a quarter of companies measure the value of customer intelligence, those that do say that it improves customer retention, customer satisfaction, and customer profitability. Do we have your attention yet?

We’re really excited to have launched this new coverage area, and massively encouraged by the feedback. Being European, I’m taking the next two weeks off 😉 But, I can’t wait to get back and publish our findings about how companies organize their CI function, leverage customer intelligence to drive decisions, and measure its impact. As Carl, Julie, and John have said, if you have thoughts, questions, or comments, please share them with us and add your voice to our research.