Insights into the 2023 Yale Customer Insights Conference

About a 2 min. read

This was my first time at the Yale Customer Insights Conference. This event was highly recommended by colleagues/friends – and it did live up to its billing.

This year’s talks and discussions ranged from adapting to the ever-changing consumer landscape and shifting stakeholder thinking to the rise in (and benefit of) retailer-owned media platforms – resulting in rich insights for marketers and researchers alike.

Here are a few key takeaways from the conference:

Stay vigilant and be responsive to market trends

Tim Poland and Ana MarkdaSilva (J.P. Morgan Chase) spoke on the importance of having a pulse on multiple market metrics and making rapid adjustments to keep messaging/communications relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace. Using the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, the Chase team was able to determine why ads were performing sub-optimally and make mid-stream adjustments to the campaign. Sometimes the answer to a business problem lies in data that’s not directly related to the test metrics. We should be mindful of broader macro-trends and be willing to act on them to stay relevant.

AI is taking marketers by storm – be smart about how you leverage it

In his talk, Jon Iwata (Practice Leader at Yale) highlights the unprecedented growth of generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT reached 100M users in 2 months vs. 2.5 yrs. for Instagram & 3.5 yrs. for WhatsApp). In a survey of marketers, 73% say they are currently using generative AI tools for brainstorming sessions. However, quoting Yejin Choi from University of Washington (“Why AI is incredibly smart but shockingly stupid”), Iwata cautions consumers of generative AI and encourages them to ask smart questions about data provenance (i.e., “what’s the data?”, “where is it from?”, “how was it collected?”, etc.) because “good data is good AI.”

Shift organizational thinking from “What” to “Why”

To fully understand decision dynamics, it is critical to uncover the “why” – both rational and emotional – that underly the choices consumers make. This often starts with the marketing and insights functions within the organization, as pointed out by Pam Forbus of Pernod Ricard.  We must shift from a product-centric (what) to a consumer-centric (why) approach to drive sustainable growth. This entails understanding consumer demand pools and critical unmet needs – physical, emotional, and situational – followed by identifying the “moments that matter” in their path to purchase where brand messaging would be most impactful.

CMB continues to be in the innovation forefront – developing tools/techniques (e.g., leveraging AI technologies) to deliver deeper insights in today’s ever-changing consumer landscape. Let’s connect so that I can understand your business needs and determine how CMB can help. Contact us.