I've had two reports go live in the past week or so which, although we worked on them separately, are in some ways related. First, we argue that Customer Intelligence needs to get out of the weeds to demonstrate value. CI professionals seek to fill a strategic function at their organizations, but many are stuck grappling with the basics — integrating data, struggling to evolve beyond direct marketing channels, and neglecting inbound marketing.

Today, Tamara Barber and I launched two reports on which we collaborated to understand the intersection and interplay between market insights and CI. We found that, for Customer Intelligence professionals, collaborating with market insights will help to elevate the CI role and that, collectively, they can bring the organization closer to becoming an intelligent enterprise.

This isn't something for every company, and it is something that will require work, but we show that firms can create competitive advantage if they invest the time and resources to build a shared CI and MI culture, align processes, integrate the relevant data, rationalize technology decisions, liaise collectively and directly with business functions, and adopt shared metrics.

This is just the first of several reports that Tamara and I will release. Clearly new skills and new organizational structures are going to be required; the vendor landscape will be altered; and crucially, firms will evolve their relationships with their customers — for the better!

I'd love to hear your thoughts here, or join the discussion on our community site on the same topic.