Do you use analytics for your marketing programs?

Business intelligence solutions have come a long way in the past 15 years or so, transforming from highly complex and often unapproachable technologies to ones that can be used by virtually any company. Since advanced analytics have become a bit more available and accessible, the first targets of relevant projects, at least in the broad sense, have been related to market research, branding and advertising – all of which help companies to become smarter in their customer communications.

Organizations that have not yet decided to embark on an analytics mission should certainly consider doing so soon, as maintaining a competitive edge will be a dubious proposition when everyone else in the market is making smarter and quicker decisions with the help of analytics. What’s more, because of the ways in which general marketing trends have continued to move in a digital direction, virtually every business already has a wealth of data to be analyzed.

Analytics have indeed become complementary tools to some advertising platforms, but leveraging big data for decision-making will demand a more comprehensive approach and specialized solutions. These technologies can dramatically improve the success rates of campaigns over time, and will inform leaders in a more timely and accurate fashion than virtually any type of traditional intelligence for your marketing programs: Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein, Physicist

Progress report

Despite the fact that so many firms are beginning to use analytics for various purposes within their corporate operations and decision-making processes, there is still plenty of road to travel toward optimal outcomes. KPMG recently released its latest survey results on global big data utilization, finding that 97 percent of companies have already started to leverage these tools for at least one purpose.

In terms of the most popular targets for intelligence projects, sales and marketing ranked second behind risk management, with 92 percent of surveyed entities citing analytics use for these types of needs. Faster decision-making was enjoyed by 86 percent of the pool, while 80 percent believe that their performances are more accurate thanks to the big data investments they have made.

However, KPMG did find that there are widespread setbacks which will need to be mitigated in the near future. For example, more than half of the respondents do not seem to comprehensively understand and trust the results of intelligence projects, while the vast majority have not found the right types of experienced employees to champion these endeavors in a productive fashion.

“As maturity increases, we have seen a corresponding increase in the complexity of the analytics being undertaken,” KPMG Australia’s Anthony Coops mused. “Recurring themes are emerging, such as the increasing use of multiple data sources, breaking down silos within the organization, the growing use of more sophisticated techniques in innovative areas of the business, and an improvement in the quality and repeatability of the solutions being implemented.”

So, while the merits of investing in analytics are plenty clear today, the challenges are ever-present.

Where to begin

More likely than not, small business owners will not have nearly enough expertise in the marketing or IT departments to really nail a big data strategy down. At the same time, entrepreneurs cannot afford to drag their feet on these matters, as competitors are likely beginning to use big data for stronger decision-making and brand management performances.

So, it will often be best to look for a big data service provider that can help to customize the approach to analysis in such a way that aligns with the company’s marketing needs, and will handle the more technical aspects over time. This can help to ensure that results are stronger and investments are not wasted.

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