Pitch It: The Business Case for Customer Salience

5 min readMay 18, 2024

As insight experts, we understand the power of insights, their inherent value in key decision-making practices, and the impact they can have on business strategies. However, it is a tough task pitching new ideas that will transform the operational practices of well-established businesses and industries. The cliches of the status quo and ‘if it’s not broke why fix it’ are embedded in business practices, and they will remain that way until they no longer serve their purpose. While more people preach the benefits of innovation, there are few who will apply it when there is a risk of failure.

As this is the current norm, it’s no wonder that insight teams across all industries need some help in convincing their stakeholders to change such a large aspect of the organisation — the culture –to embed customer insights in daily decision-making practices and Customer Saliency into the minds of stakeholders everywhere.

It is a tough task pitching something new that will change organisations on such a large scale — while we know the benefits of Customer Salience, we still need to pitch it well to stand a chance at success.

The Pitch

Business strategies need insights like humans need food — to grow and thrive into something bigger and better than ever before. But just as humans need the right food to grow healthily, strategies need the right insights to grow into something more relevant to stand a chance at future-proofing the business.

It might be a bit of a drawn-out metaphor, but it works well for this purpose.

To pitch Customer Salience effectively, insight experts and advocates need to understand that this is the way to generating those specific relevant insights that better develop strategies into versions that guide the organisation into a healthier, sustainable and steadfast future.

As with every strategy, each pitch should be unique to the business in mind. Before you pitch the idea of Customer Salience, you must first understand the business and stakeholders, how they operate, how they make a decision, how much influence is held within each team, how data flows throughout the organisation, and how customer salient your organisation is currently. Undertaking an audit will give you the insights needed to uncover new opportunities to embed Customer Saliency in your business, and then you just need the courage to create and present the pitch.

There will be some commonalities across all businesses, for example, some siloed teams and areas that will need releasing, some stakeholders who use experience over insights in their decision-making, and organisational hierarchies that need appeasing or will influence the level of Customer Salience that can be achieved within the business.

However, knowing how Customer Salience and insights can transform a business through the act of individual and team decision-making is crucial to convincing stakeholders of its power and ability to increase the capacity for successful decision-making across the board — the persuasiveness of success cannot be understated and should be expressed well throughout the pitch.

The Goal

The goal of Customer Salience for stakeholders and businesses is to better understand customers, and to use that understanding within decisions both big and small every day. Whether that’s to inform pivotal organisational strategies or simple day-to-day arrangements. As much as they pursue success, using insights seems to remain a challenge for stakeholders, even as we attempt to prove their worth (and by extension our own worth); the link between making relevant decisions and allowing relevant insights to guide decisions has not been received as clearly as we hope.

The goal of Customer Salience for insight experts and advocates is to embed a high level of customer salience within their organisation, this principle will shift the onus off of insight teams to communicate insights and fight to embed them into decision-making processes across the organisation. For years now, we have focussed our attentions on the most influential stakeholders within senior management and the c-suite, but the Customer Salient approach expands our efforts to all stakeholder teams — widening the pool of prospective insight users to everyone in the organisation rather than a select group.

Customer Salience works best when all stakeholders stay close to their customers, using insights to keep themselves informed on their customers’ behaviours, opinions and actions both on a daily basis and in relation to the brand. When every stakeholder plays their part, seeking out those insights and connecting themselves to customers through those insights, transformation to a Customer-Salient organisation will be a natural evolution rather than anything driven by force.

Pitching Customer Salience requires some preparation — after an effective audit, opportunities should arise that we can include in our persuasive pitch.

The Next Steps

Once we’ve done the audit and created the pitch, it’s time to put the plan into action. This will require time, effort and resources on the part of the insight team and others to lay down the right communication channels, generate the right insights, create the right engagement opportunities and more. Luckily, we have created the Customer Salience Framework® located in our comprehensive toolkit to give insight experts a good foundation to jumpstart their Customer Salience efforts.

Even when the pitch has been accepted and stakeholders are keen to try, changing the corporate culture in this way is still a considerable task, albeit a very worthy endeavour. Reframing the concept of market research and insights in this way will have some profound impacts on the role of the insight team within an organisation, shifting it away from a data generator and communicator role and more to a strategic insight partner role, a business advisor and resident customer expert. As this role appears, customer-led transformation starts to take over the evolution of businesses in a more organic, sustainable progression than the typical business-as-usual profit-led growth, and aspects of organisational synthesis should appear as signs of Customer Salience success.

This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.




FlexMR is The Insights Empowerment Company. We help brands to act decisively, stay close to customers and embed agile insight at the heart of every decision.