Don’t overlook opportunities to leverage marketing data and analytics

You’ve heard all about data and analytics, in fact you may be tired of hearing about it. The challenge, then, is to move beyond talking about it and figure out what to do about it.

We hear about IBM Watson being used to help diagnose patients, Google updating route information in real-time based on sensor data and credit card vendors like VISA and American Express using data to identify fraud. Within marketing, we are nearly bombarded by stories around next-gen value segmentation, real-time personalization and offers and geolocation targeting. But if these advances are so pervasive, why do we continue to see statistics like the following:

  • Less than 1/3rd of all marketing projects actually use or request analytics.
  • Only 8 percent of marketers say they have tools in place to help them act upon a complete and unified view of their customers.
  • Less than 1 in 5 are doing predictive analytics or using advanced techniques like anomaly detection to trigger communications.

These challenges are likely compounded by some of the issues highlighted in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review. The article discusses four challenges that organizations face in creating an actionable set of data upon which to base  go-to-market decisions and actions. The most advanced organizations are challenged with bringing structured and unstructured data together to create the foundation needed to successfully leverage this information.  But even with the appropriate foundation, challenges still exist. Organizations don’t understand the limits of unstructured data and underestimate the investment successful technical implementations require to achieve full alignment of a cross functional team.

As a result, this problem is usually one that is left to the C-Suite or another department to solve, or is simply pushed aside for later. How can you break through this cycle?

  • Start by enriching the data you already have.
  • Apply the appropriate lens for analyzing and using the data and you will likely find both bigger impact and cost savings.
  • Embed marketing analysts directly in your operational teams. The opportunity is to bring the analysts closer to the actual needs to reap the benefits of deeper engagement and more consistent use of data-driven decisioning
  • Choose a real problem to prove the case about analytics. Adding relevant data sources incrementally may drive new insights that radically enhance aspects of your customer engagement or better align your marketing mix.

Not every company needs to build a Watson. But every company has the ability to adopt some of these learnings.