Phil Sutcliffe, Kantar TNS Board Director of Offer and Innovation, outlines the challenges that contribute to the incredible complexity businesses face today, and proposes the key to navigating this tricky landscape.

The fundamental problem most of our clients grapple with is the sheer complexity of their marketplaces today. When we look at the issues and listen to how businesses are seeking to address them, the key thing that is common is an increasing focus on moments to find growth.

Three factors create the complexity we’re seeing and provide a framework for thinking about the role moments play in the world today.

  • Consumer needs are becoming more nuanced. People are busier, more demanding and have higher expectations. Their needs are more specific and are often moment-related. Therefore, businesses need to understand consumers’ needs in those particular moments so they can target their products, innovation and customer service delivery more effectively.
  • Markets are growing more competitive. In many cases new competitors – often from a technology background – are disrupting markets by meeting customer needs in new and better ways. And in many countries, multinationals have been facing an increasing threat from local companies who have an inherent understanding of market conditions and cultural factors that shape consumer needs in particular moments.
  • The number of touchpoints is exploding Technology – and the smartphone in particular – has increased complexity. People now engage in smaller and more frequent bursts of digital activity. According to Google, every day around the world there are 100 billion moments where people interact with smartphones. That’s 100 billion opportunities to understand behaviours and connect with your customers and potential customers. If you add to that the huge number of offline touchpoints that we also interact with every day of our lives, then it’s clear that businesses are faced with incredible intricacies to manage.

Of course, with all this complexity comes risk – the risk of a lot of misdirected and wasted investment if you don’t get it right. So what’s the answer to navigating this? We believe the key is a precise focus on the moments that matter most to consumers, your customers and your brand.

How do we go about looking for and identifying the moments that matter? Moments of opportunity can be transient, everyday events or they can be much less frequent but still very significant in our lives. The most successful, disruptive and incremental innovation comes from finding moments where people’s needs have traditionally not been met and addressing them in a completely new way. Likewise, successful brand growth comes through identifying precise moments of opportunity and successful communications come through targeting moments, not channels. And in the area of customer experience, when a business successfully identifies and anticipates moments of frustration, it can turn these into moments of delight by creating more emotional connections with people to drive customer preference and satisfaction.

Whether your focus is about finding growth through customer experience, through innovation or through brands and communications, a precise focus on identifying, optimising and activating against the moments that matter most will drive the greatest growth for your business.