This excellent article by Eric Tsai is full of practical and useful information. I am glad Eric have addressed the issue of customer insights and how it can be used in an organization.
If the sales staff knows what words or questions your target audience used most frequently when talking about your product, they can craft a better sales pitch. If product engineers realize how many different ways people actually use the products they create, they can improve and create better products. If the design team identifies how your customers come to visit your page and where they clicked, perhaps they can increase the conversion rate on your next campaign.
In my experience this knowledge, even if it is available within an organization, is rarely utilized for a process of resolving customer problems with a specific product or in a new product development process. Product Marketing organizations often seem to be more inclined to use “customer” feedback they solicit, via panels and focus groups other then analysis of unsolicited voice of the real customers, who actually purchased their products. I suspect it is the issue of control, and in my opinion, it contradicts the notion of “Social” relationship with customers. Another potential reason of the disconnect is a nature of “soft” raw data, extracted from chats and and forums, does not easily translates into the structured information required by enterprise processes and systems.