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Case Studies 4 MIN READ

MetLife argues the case for longevity through insight

The second annual NYC Insights Executive Roundtable was hosted by Carlos Fonseca, SVP Marketing Sciences at MetLife and a founding panellist from last year’s NYC roundtable. In attendance were executives returning from American Express (2017 hosts), Colgate-Palmolive, Aetna, and Prudential, as well as newcomers from PNC Financial Services, Cigna, Sanofi, New York Life, and A&E.

Carlos launched the session with the observation that MetLife, along with Colgate, American Express, Aetna, and New York Life, are all over a hundred years old. While many of their former peers have disappeared, he argued that putting insights first can guarantee today’s centenarians are still going strong a hundred years from now.

Metlife’s deployment

To achieve this, MetLife’s approach is to first think strategically and then use relevant insights to solve problems with their knowledge management platform, the Insights Engine. (The Insights Engine was the focus of a recent MetLife event at the ESOMAR LATAM Conference in Buenos Aires—you can read about the presentation here.)

Flynt Tuller, AVP Marketing Sciences and leader of the Insights Engine, outlined the journey to deploying effective access to insights. The initial decision to invest in a platform was driven by the need to create a competitive advantage with the right insights at the right time.

To achieve this, Marketing Sciences worked to “bring together multiple streams of knowledge across geographies, lines of business and functions, to increase the reach and value of MetLife’s accumulated knowledge.” Flynt shared four use cases to illustrate the platform’s reach:

  1. Before starting new research, insights managers ask the platform “What do we know about…?” and “How have others solved a similar challenge?”
  2. To conduct a situation analysis, users turn to the platform to understand the key factors and changing dynamics.
  3. To harness knowledge on competition and industry drivers and stay in front of opportunities and threats, users turn to the platform as a hub and collaboration space for competitive intelligence.
  4. As inspiration for creativity, platform users can connect dots from inside and outside insurance to spur new ideas and innovations.

Key learnings included the recognition that “technology is the tip of the iceberg—people and teamwork make change happen.”

While the initial deployment strategy started small, Flynt said the team soon realized it made more sense to “quickly bring together data from many sources … as the more you deposit, the more you can withdraw.” Quantifying ROI on insights and the platform is an important next step in 2018, and Flynt welcomes collaboration with Market Logic, as well as other members of the NYC chapter.

Flynt handed the stage over to Jason Childers, VP Global Solutions at Market Logic, for a talk on the ROI of insights and insights platforms. While first-generation insights platforms were launched to address a market inefficiency, i.e. the lack of tools and resources for insights managers, next-generation platforms connect every possible dot to drive understanding.

Using your data

Data has no value if you don’t generate insights from it, and those insights have no value if they aren’t used. So, a good insights platform ensures that value is generated from your data in business decisions.

Successful platforms connect all the data and learn from it. Jason likened the coming together of structured and unstructured findings with sports coverage. “Structured data provides the play-by-play, so you know what’s happening, while unstructured data provides the colour commentary and tells you why.”

Open discussion focused on ROI, where owners agreed that efficiencies were easily achieved by eliminating duplicative research and reducing time and effort for the research organization. However, they also noted that these benefits must be coupled with effective gains to promote ROI to the C-level. Positive business impacts were noted, including:

  • Improved concept test performance at the front end of innovation, when marketers reference past concept tests to prevent the repetition of mistakes
  • Investment of saved funds in strategic research
  • Focusing team effort on applying learnings from landmark research studies across multiple categories and business lines

Today’s insight platforms already drive efficiency by automating processes that used to eat up hours of time. Next generation platforms will enhance performance so managers can answer questions from existing data without being a data scientist.

By actively coupling efficiency and effective gains, a next-generation platform promises a positive impact on commercial performance by injecting insights directly into the workflow.

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