First Wave of Insights2020 Study Highlights the Role Insights and Analytics Play in Driving Customer-Centric Business Growth


New York – Sept. 28, 2015 – Seventy-four percent of companies that over-perform on revenue growth create customer experiences based on data driven insights, with only 30 percent of under-performing companies reporting the same, according to initial findings from Insights2020 – Driving Customer-Centric Growth, a global marketing leadership initiative, released today. The study, led by Millward Brown Vermeer in partnership with The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), ESOMAR, LinkedIn, Kantar and Korn Ferry, builds on the findings of Marketing2020 and is focused on aligning insights and analytics strategy, structure and capability to drive business growth.

Based on more than 325 in-depth interviews with senior marketing and insights leaders and 10,000+ interviews with practitioners across 60 markets, the Insights2020 initiative examines the drivers of customer-centricity and how being a customer-focused company impacts business performance. The research team analyzed over-performing and under-performing companies in terms of revenue growth to understand what over-performing organizations are doing differently to drive success.

“More than a set of activities, customer-centricity is a strategy to deliver business value against customer needs, guided by brand purpose,” said Frank van den Driest, Chief Commercial Officer, Millward Brown Vermeer and Insights2020 global program leader. “Building on the findings from Marketing2020, Insights2020 found that companies that out-perform their peers on revenue growth do so by over-performing on key drivers of customer-centricity. With a robust and global sample, we are able to quantify the financial opportunity for any business and guide organizations on their journeys to customer-centricity. The connection is clear and it is time to elevate insights and analytics to the boardroom.”

The research revealed a number of striking differences between over- and under-performing organizations, and all tie back to three key dimensions of customer-centric growth: Total Experience, Customer Obsession and Insights Engine:

  • 83 percent of revenue growth over-performers link everything the company does to its brand purpose, as opposed to only 31 percent among revenue growth under-performers.
  • 62 percent of over-performers leverage insights and analytics to drive consistency across all customer touch-points, only 26 percent of under-performers do.
  • In 78 percent of over-performing companies, customer-centricity is fully embraced by all functions whereas this is only true in 12 percent of the under-performing companies.
  • 66 percent of all over-performers are working to link their disparate data sources, compared with only 33 percent of under-performing companies doing so.
  • The Insights and Analytics function reports straight into the CEO in 33 percent of over-performer companies; this is true for only 13 percent of the under-performers.

Phase two of Insights2020, available in early 2016, will build on the key drivers of customer-centric growth and will explore the roadmap for helping brands reach customer-centricity.

Laurent Flores, President of ESOMAR added, “Our industry and clients’ businesses are in a period of significant transformation. These findings present an opportunity for the research industry to increase our impact and play a pivotal role in driving customer-centricity and business growth.”

Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever, and chair of the Insights2020 advisory board said, “I am particularly excited about practical application opportunities highlighted by the initial findings. These findings offer every CMO and Insights and Analytics leader a clear list of focus areas and I look forward to building on our initial learning as we share and explore the findings with the industry.”

Initial findings from Insights2020 are being presented this week at the ESOMAR Annual Congress in Dublin, Ireland; as part of Advertising Week in New York with The ARF; and in Austin, TX at The American Marketing Association (AMA) Annual Meeting.

Please contact us to schedule an interview at any of these events to learn more about the findings from Insights2020. For additional information, please visit:

About Insights2020

The Insights2020 study is focused on developing the strategic framework, practical guidelines, practical case studies and engagement opportunities to help marketing and insights and analytics leaders:

  • Define the role of insights and analytics in driving business strategy and growth;
  • Build and organize the function – both structure and processes – for success; and
  • Emulate the leadership competencies and behaviors of over-performing organizations.

From March to September 2015, more than 325 interviews were conducted with business, marketing, and insights and analytics leaders; and more than 10,000 practitioners from 60 countries participated in the online Insights2020 survey. This research was boosted with online behavior analysis by LinkedIn, and crowd sourcing led by Wharton. Insights2020 work builds on the findings of Marketing2020, the largest study of its kind, helping global CMOs align marketing strategy, structure, and capability with business growth. Marketing2020 included contributions from more than 250 CMOs and 10,000 marketers across 92 countries and was featured in the July-August 2014 Harvard Business Review.

About Millward Brown Vermeer

Millward Brown Vermeer is a global marketing consultancy focused on unleashing purpose-led growth through the development and embedding of consumer insight-led marketing strategy, structure and capability. We provide solutions to strategic marketing challenges, rooting our approach in consumer research, stakeholder understanding and financial analysis. We tie insights to dollars, the universally accepted language of business. Our whole-brain thinking brings an intrinsically multi-lens and practical approach to our work. Our Marketing2020 and Inisights2020 learning initiatives are the most global and comprehensive CMO and Insights and Analytics learning programs in the market and our annual global BrandZ™ brand valuation ranking is the market benchmark for determining the most valuable brands in the world. Millward Brown Vermeer is part of Kantar, WPP’s data investment management division.

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