Business Intelligence for Marketers Resource Guide
Dashboards and Visualizations
Like the dashboard of a car gives the driver a visual of the most important information he needs to keep driving safely and successfully, a business intelligence dashboard provides a marketer with an overview of the progress of the company. The great benefit of a good dashboard for marketers is that it is easy to use and understand, and cuts through much of the junk data or unnecessary information by highlighting important measurements. It is also simple to turn data into these visuals, which in turn can be easily shared. Just like the dashboard of the car, a BI dashboard offers a simple summation of important metrics and information that should offer insights on customers, performance, and more.
One major advantage of a dashboard for marketers is the ability to compare several KPI’s side by side in one viewing. This may foster insights that would have been obscured without visualization. If using a web analytics tool, a dashboard can portray the conversion rate in one chart, and then the source of the clicks for successful conversions in a chart to the side. Now, the marketer knows exactly where his best online leads are coming from.
Dashboards are also a good way for marketers to compare the success of social channels. It is simple to view how many sales come from each channel, side by side with how many visitors each channel brings in. The most popular medium may not be the most profitable one, in this example.
Ultimately, dashboards are a way to make visual sense of the massive amounts of data that other BI tools are sure to provide.
Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics
Predictive analytics is the process of uncovering data that reveals future trends. Marketers are always seeking actionable insights from their data, and the forecasts produced by predictive analytics offer direct suggestions for future action. One major way this is achieved is by providing information that can support the sales team. Information about individual customers can inform their approach – or even just inform their automated email campaign – and lead to increased revenue. Predictive analytics tools can not only determine the best messaging for customers by reading into past behavior, but they can also determine what products to market to which customers.
By helping marketers to understand customer behavior better, the marketer is able to be proactive, and make a prognosis of their needs in advance. This drives revenue and engages customers. An example is Amazon’s model: a customer comes to Amazon from a link in an email and browses various pages for a few hours. Based on how the customer arrived to the website, and what products the customer viewed, Amazon is able to guess the desires of this customer with a great degree of accuracy. On the flip side, if data reflects a disgruntled customer that does not open certain types of emails, this BI tool will help the marketer know it in advance, so that they can shape their messaging in a way that will not bore or scare the customer away.
Using data from the past, predictive analytics can prescribe precise ways for the marketing department to improve consumer engagement and reach its target audience with more valuable messaging.
Marketing Technology Integration
Business intelligence tools can contribute significantly to a fully integrated marketing approach. Customers are going to be using all available channels and resources to research and discuss a product, and ultimately to make the decision of whether or not to buy that product. Marketers must be sure they are, in turn, integrating data from all available platforms to design ideal interactions.
Marketing technology integration is about conveying a unified message throughout a customer’s entire experience with a brand: from email and social media to billboards and in-store advertisements. This is important to marketers striving to make the entire customer experience seamless.
This is achieved by integrating real-time customer behavior data into personalized responses. Statistics show that 45% of American consumers plan to split their buying between online and in-store purchases, underscoring the importance of this unified approach. For example, one customer may download an app that is partnered to a certain store. When the customer uses the app and checks in on Facebook at a location near that store, he receives a discount to shop there. After making a purchase, he receives an email with coupons and an invitation to discuss the brand on social media. According to a 2011 Gartner survey, companies that use such “event triggered” techniques have seen the response rates to their campaigns increase by 600%.
Integrated marketing technologies provide customers with consistent messaging across platforms and can make a brand stick out in the mind of a customer, and ultimately be a determining factor in a purchase.
Social analytics tools gather information from user conversations and actions across social media channels and the rest of the Web. It offers the marketing department insight into the behavior and sometimes even the thought-processes of customers. The field can be subdivided into two primary categories: web analytics, which examines page browsing statistics, and social media analytics.
Web analytics offer marketers a comprehensive vision of who is visiting their site, how they are getting there, and what they are most interested in. These tools can be used to determine the success of certain areas of the site, in addition to the success of links and other advertising in drawing traffic to the site. Statistics can also demonstrate which page a user is on when they leave the site. This can inform the marketer’s decision-making when it comes to the site’s content and messaging.
Social media analytics mines information from posts, link shares, comments, and other engagements on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, comments sections and more. This data provides marketers with a unique window into the hearts and minds of consumers. This can improve consumer engagement, as companies learn more about who their target audience is and what they want. For example, in reacting to an episode of a TV show, who were the users that mentioned the show the most? Why did they like the show or why didn’t they?
The most common actionable insight that is drawn from social media analytics is campaign tracking: judging the performance of a given campaign, and determining the factors that impact performance. Which outreach methods are working and which are not? How does the messaging need to be changed so that the product stands out in conversation from the competition? For example, social analytics could compare the amount of social mentions of a TV show, versus how many people actually watched the show.
Perhaps more than any other business intelligence tool, social analytics foster an intimate understanding of a customer’s opinions. This is important not just for engagement, but for monitoring performance and the strategic aims of a campaign.
Marketers rely on key performance indicators, measurements of success in important categories, to determine the most important influences on business performance. KPI’s monitor the efficiency of a marketing campaign through metrics such as Cost Per Lead Acquisition. Determining the cost of each lead, where the most expensive leads came from, and where the most valuable leads came from, can provide valuable insight into best practices. It can also answer the question of how resources should be allocated. For example, a company could host a very expensive tradeshow and only receive a few leads. The Cost Per Lead Acquisition might then be very high. However, if those few leads turned out to be major clients that increased revenue, marketers better understand the value of that tradeshow.
KPI’s can also help marketers determine if their content contains the right messaging. A great way for digital marketers to measure this is by watching the Landing Page Conversion Rates. This KPI gauges how successful a page of content is in getting visitors to either fill out of a form or buy a product. By using this KPI to watch different pages over time, marketers can discover which kind of content draws the most “conversions”, whether they be leads or sales.
KPI analysis is not only an easy way to keep an eye on metrics that are vital to the business, but it can also create connections for marketers between metrics. Certain KPI’s can serve as indirect indicators of other categories. By monitoring KPI’s over time, marketers can see which KPI’s are related to customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and the categories that matter the most to them.
Unifying Customer Data
Important data on customers can come from many places and from many different campaigns; whether the information be handwritten on a comments card or filled out in an online registration form, it is most valuable when it is all gathered together and used to inform marketing decisions. Customer data unification is important to marketers for a simple reason: the more accurate data the company has, the better they are going to be able to engage the customer. Without unified data, marketers might be communicating inaccurate, out of date, or distasteful messaging to customers. In the very least, they won’t be taking maximizing the value of big data.
Business intelligence tools like data warehouses can draw together data from multiple places and organize it in a single format. This unified view provides insight not just to the customer but to the place where it came from. Marketers can tell which kind of customers engage them where. Ultimately it can result in another form of campaign performance: which method is working best? Whether that means Facebook over Twitter, or direct mail over email, unifying data from across channels provides marketers with meaningful insights.