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Condé Nast’s 3 Steps to Building a Global Insight Engine

Written by Alida

Published February 20, 2020

“We were flying blind. We didn’t have consistent data, we didn’t know much about our global audience, and it was very difficult to make decisions. Now, with one centralized platform, we’re infusing our deep customer knowledge into business decisions in every market around the world.”

— Chris Austin, Director of Data & Insights, Condé Nast

Global media brand Condé Nast embarked on an ambitious undertaking to transition from 32 independent regional businesses to a unified, global brand representing every market. This meant consolidating teams, strategies, and even technologies that were independently determined within each market. A large component of this global shift meant building a single HQ data and insight function, a radical idea for a 100-year-old business. Though the process was far from easy, Condé Nast was able to seamlessly build a global insight engine that now fuels every area of the global business to make customer-centric decisions.

Is your organization ready to break down regional insight silos? Learn from Condé Nast’s success and follow these three steps to develop a consolidated insight engine.

1. Identify Duplication

Centralizing siloed insights from each region requires a lot of heavy lifting but becomes more manageable when broken down into steps. Condé Nast began this process by identifying areas of duplication within existing data and insight efforts. In doing this, they discovered overlap in three key areas of the business:

  • Teams — Condé Nast discovered overlaps between separate, regional teams who were tasked with gathering the same insights as other research teams.
  • Platforms — Independently selected tech stacks created data silos in each region. Until they rolled out common technologies across markets, it was near impossible to get a consistent 360° view of the global customer.
  • Research tactics — Condé Nast found duplication between the research tactics being conducted in each region. Centrally led research projects proved more cost effective and valuable to the business whilst enabling the local teams to focus on locally specific research projects.

Once the data and insights duplication was identified, Condé Nast saw opportunities for standardization. This revealed a clear path forward for optimizing the insights efforts for the now global organization.

2. Optimize Efforts to Reduce Cost

Once Condé Nast was able to optimize their insight engine by standardizing processes across regions, they saw an immediate lift in the volume of insight they were able to gather with existing resources. And, they were able to make better use of insights collected by centralizing everything on a single platform. Coordinating multiple teams and insight streams across each region would have been impossible without a single platform that could collect insights and empower the research team.

Condé Nast partnered with Alida to use an insight community as a key source for insights. The insight community allowed their teams to access the efforts of all researchers within the organization. The consumers within the community each received a personalized, regionalized experience in their preferred language, but in the backend, all insights were funneled into a single platform that empowered the research and insights team with the information they needed to fully understand their customers.

“We can turn around big, multimarket multi-language research efforts quickly and at a low cost compared to what it would cost to do the same with an agency. Looking from a global lens, we’re able to do research that would be otherwise unreachable. We’re pushing innovation both with research methodology but also with how we use the data and how we combine our community data with other data sources around the topic.”

— Chris Austin, Director of Data & Insights, Condé Nast

By getting a global view of their customers, they were able to develop incredibly detailed customer models that help them attract and retain more consumers than ever before.

3. Point Everyone in the Same Direction

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears, does it make a sound?” can be applied to customer data and insights. If there isn’t a strategy in place to democratize the insights to the rest of the organization and influence business decisions, you’re missing out on the true value of customer insights to an organization.

Condé Nast prioritized communication of insights by scheduling monthly calls with everyone in the organization responsible for research. This enabled them to get everyone on the same page with ongoing insight and research efforts. They also allowed each researcher to share and learn from the work going on within the other markets. This became a win/win for the teams as the collaborative environment strengthened the insight efforts and helped further distribute actionable insights.

“We need to have an international view of the world and be able to conduct research globally, but local nuance is very important and those teams must be able to do research as well and be supported. This is how we make sure everything we do adds value. We tie everything back to the outcomes we are trying to drive and the benefits of that work.”

— Paul Nesbitt, Head of Audience Research, Condé Nast 

After the successful consolidation of multiple independent research efforts into a single global team, Condé Nast is now able to combine hard-to-reach customer insights with their existing systems of record for a much deeper understanding of their consumers than ever before. Their global leadership team is now using research on all fronts to make decisions and local markets are seeing the impact. The Insight team is also able to support revenue generation within the company by infusing insight into pre-sales conversation to help convert prospects, through testing campaign effectiveness to drive additional value to clients, and through unprecedented innovation enabled by their new insight model.

Powered with a single platform at the core, by simply identifying, optimizing, and communicating, Condé Nast is able to confidently continue towards future success with customer insights at the heart of everything they do.

Want to hear the full transition story, see practical use cases for insights, and the ROI of the data and insights team to see how your organization can learn from Conde Nast’s journey? Watch the on-demand webinar today.

How Condé Nast's Consumer-Centric Focus Supports the Company's Global Vision Watch Now