Data-driven Customer-centricity: The Secret Recipe of Business Success

To survive in today’s rapidly changing, highly competitive landscape, businesses must place customers at the heart of their planning and operations. And – crucially – they must leverage data to do so.


Elevating customer experience excellence

Customer experience plays a bigger role in driving growth and retention than many people realize. With customers four times more likely to buy from a competitor – and willing to pay them up to 10% more – delivering delightful service alongside an irresistible product is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’.   

Source: L-R, Hubspot, Forrester, Salesforce, Qualtrics


Guaranteeing excellent customer experience is easier said than done. And while many organizations talk up their commitment to achieving it, few share how they (plan to) do so. 

The key to success? Embracing a data-driven, customer-centric approach where customer value and the data that measures that value go hand-in-hand. Where customer-centricity is yin, i.e., the sustaining force of your organization, data-centricity is yang: its indispensable counterpart.   

Working together, they help businesses seamlessly deliver product and service excellence at every stage of the customer journey, from the first touchpoint to aftersales support.

Activating customer-centricity in B2B organizations 

For B2B organizations specifically, a customer-centric approach must also account for an environment in which:  

  • Sales cycles are longer, with considered purchases being the norm  
  • Decision-making has many parameters  
  • Multiple stakeholders are involved in a product or service’s purchase and/or daily use. 

All this is radically different from what customer-centricity demands in typical B2C environments – and requires a different tool kit to succeed. This is where a data-led approach to customer-centricity can help B2B organizations tremendously.  

How data helps drive customer-centricity 

At GfK, we’ve learned that to be successful in our own B2B environment (which, in turn, enables us to support our B2C clients), we need to embed a data-led approach in all our customer-focused efforts and goals, organization-wide.   

How did we do this? By focusing on three things: 

  • Customer value: Maintaining clarity and laser-sharp focus on what creates value for our clients.  
  • Customer journey: Understanding the relative importance of each touchpoint in the customer journey.  
  • Customer experience: Fostering the ability to provide an exceptional experience at every stage.  

As shown above, the capability to achieve all three relies heavily on data serving as a solid foundation for our strategic and tactical decision-making. 

Driving customer-centricity through Customer Success Management

The image below summarizes the four key pillars of Customer Success Management (CSM) that GfK has adopted to help us drive customer-centricity within our own organization, for the ultimate benefit of our clients: 


At GfK we help our clients achieve this by first integrating our proprietary gfknewron data analytics platform into the organization’s DNA. This is followed by providing access to our Customer Success Management (CSM) expertise, led by our specialist Customer Success team that exists to help every client unleash their focus on driving customer-centricity throughout their organization. 

Discovering the path to sustainable growth 

Unlocking unprecedented results for our clients with CSM  

The following examples demonstrate how we have managed to create tangible outcomes for our clients using the four pillars of CSM described above:  

  • For a small domestic appliances company, our Customer Success team helped a leading player in vacuum cleaners deepen their relationship with a key retailer and get full alignment on supporting the launch of a new product.   
  • For an IT client, we helped unlock an opportunity worth approximately USD 15M. We successfully convinced their HQ to launch a new product variant in a specific price tier that was being totally overlooked but aggressively pursued by the competition. 
  • For a major domestic appliances brand, our Customer Success team worked closely with the client’s newly-appointed general manager to drive a data-led ‘go to market’ approach winning over some of the big ‘market experts’ within the organization, who embraced data-based decision-making to drive even bigger business success.  
  • We demonstrated to the general manager of an appliance company that they do not need to respond to an aggressive competitor price war, as it primarily benefited smaller brands. Our data-centric approach gave the evidence needed to avoid a costly discount battle and preserve our clients’ profit margins.  
  • And last but not least, our Customer Success team used data to drive collaboration between global and local client teams on a price increase topic, by demonstrating the negative impact the price increase would have on the business.  

Below are some tangible results achieved for three of our major clients.

Results reported by enterprise clients after engaging with GfK CSM* 

Source: GfK

*Benefits acknowledged by three different clients around specific value themes  

Data + human expertise = business success 

  • Thanks to the intuitive dashboard we have access to critical consumer knowledge within a few clicks, without having to conduct a lengthy ad hoc study first. On top of that, we really appreciate the proactive support and category expertise of GfK’s CSM team to get the most value out of our subscription.
    Levent Gungor
    VP Sales and Marketing, Neato Robotics EMEA

As the management guru, Peter Drucker, once said: “Quality of a product or service is not what you put into it but what a customer gets out of it.” 

A strong, relevant product offering, and irresistible customer experience, will make a business resilient through turbulent times. The examples above show how our value-driven CSM process helps our clients successfully orient their businesses in the right direction for growth and sustainability, whilst driving customer-focused change management within their organizations.   

gfknewron adoption and client experience feedback


Source: GfK  

A large proportion of these new users are business decision-makers representing sales, marketing, category management, and other functions within the client organization. Never before have so many end-users and decision-makers leveraged GfK data to make or validate their decisions, via gfknewron

The platform also serves as a collaboration tool for the 1,300+ client entities using it today, facilitating common understanding between global, regional, and local client teams. Today, 10% of gfknewron’s active userbase comes from global headquarter teams, almost 40% from regional headquarter teams, and more than 50% from local teams.   

Supported by the platform and our Customer Success team, all of them are now empowered to make informed, data-backed, customer-centric decisions that drive tangible results and sustainable growth. 

Customer-focused culture change is a ‘must’

Relying on IT tools alone can be a weak spot in any change management process. Multimillion-dollar investments often go to waste because teams don’t know how to use the software properly or are intimidated by it and avoid using it at all.   

The famous trope “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is very relevant for our clients who are focused on driving change within their organization.  

Change management is therefore a fundamental part of our efforts to drive customer-centricity. The key to successful change management is to have top management buy-in and to put data and facts front-and-center in your organization.  

This naturally calls for business leaders to drive change first from the top and shift the organization’s focus towards a culture that seamlessly embraces data-driven insights to power customer-centricity. 

We know this is easier said than done. This is why GfK is launching a client certification and change management program that supports enterprise organizations to make this crucial switch. We know it works because we’ve tested it on ourselves first!  

  • Using gfknewron has saved us a lot of time and effort, by providing our teams with granular insights within seconds. This has positively impacted our decision-making and promotion, distribution, and planning strategies, now based on these valuable data updates.
    Zahide Turan
    Corporate Communications Lead, BSH Turkey 

As Sam Walton once said “There is only one boss. The customer.” So, it is in the best interests of every organization to pursue decisions that, in turn, are in the best interests of their customers. At GfK, we certainly believe the right way to do this is by driving customer-centricity through a data-centric approach.

Do you believe the same? Let’s continue the conversation. 

Contact us


vishal16 (2)
Vishal Bali
Vice President Global Customer Success Management, GfK