I was super excited last week to announce during a LinkedIn Live session that Tricia Wang will be our guest keynote on day two of the Gartner Tech Growth and Innovation Conference this July. I have long admired her work–check out this TEDtalk for a taste of her POV and her web site where the headline on the speaking page just makes me smile, “Not everything valuable is measurable.”
We spent a lot of time choosing a speaker, primarily because we didn’t want to just have a great speaker (they are relatively easy to find). We wanted a great speaker whose message would connect with the conference theme, “Tech Growth Requires a Relentless Customer-Centric Approach.” And Tricia fits that bill perfectly. Her message to look beyond quantitative data for insights in “thick data” (aka qualitative data) is critical for everyone to understand, particularly as AI continues to take hold. Data provides clues, but also may lead us down the wrong path. Insights that combine a variety of data is much more powerful.
One example that comes to mind for me, of my own making, is the answer to the question “Who is your most valuable customer?” Most go right to the customer that generates the most revenue. It is the easy answer–but is it the right answer? What if that customer requires an inordinate amount of resources to support? What if they expect customizations that really don’t provide any value to others in the market? What if the complain vocally about you, even as they stick with you?
Contrast that with a customer that generates less revenue, but is a visible and vocal advocate–helping your sales and marketing drive interest and win business. What if that customer is an active member of the customer advisory board, but doesn’t do it for themselves, but to help make the product better for the market?
I know which one is more valuable to me. And that is what enhancing your approach to the search for insights can do.
But back to Tricia. It gets even more interesting. Whenever you hire a guest keynote, there are always discussions about tailoring the content for the specific conference audience. No surprise there. Every great speaker has a mix of examples and stories that they can fluidly assemble together in a compelling narrative.
But have you ever seen a guest keynote create a keynote that connects to an internal keynote? I’ve never seen it, but I’ll admit I’m not a big conference goer. Well, that is what is happening with TGI. As we were tell Tricia about our conference and the story we will be telling in the opening keynote about regret and paradoxes, her eyes were lighting up. There is a natural connection between our stories that we will be delivering. If you think about my work with psychographics, the connection is clear. We determine the profiles with quantitative data, but the spirit of the questions (and many of the other questions in our study) are qualitative. Going further with ethnography, effective listening, and broadening your mindset about data and information will unlock even more value potential.
The more you can get comfortable with squishy ideas, the more prepared you will be to deal with the vagaries of customer behavior. The more open you are to learning from customer interactions–and empowering those closest to the customer to collect and share those insights–the more truly customer centric you will become.
Open your morning and open your mind on day 2 of the conference. You’ll be glad you did.
There are lots of great reasons to attend #GartnerTGI. You just got another one.