Marketing analytics links customer experience with competitiveness


The digital world we live in gives marketers the opportunity to capture, record, measure, analyze and report just about anything nowadays - and we do it! Clicks, conversions, likes, attrition, business drivers, value destroyers - you name it and it's all fair game. Therein lies the rub - it's all fair game, and that's what's putting the "big" in big data every day. What to do - and how to stay competitive?

It’s not enough to just know where customers shop or what brand of jeans they purchase. The key to competitiveness is being able to understand why customers make the choices they do, how they feel about their choices, and what they experience at each step when they engage with your organization. When accurate, that understanding can give marketers the “holy grail” of being able to predict customer behaviors and positively manage customers’ experiences. It’s a goal that is within reach today.

So getting back to the conundrum of Big Data, success is a matter of keeping up or losing out - ignore it at your peril.  The issue is that hidden in the data tsunami is great potential value if you can recognize the patterns and make the connections with marketing analytics to inform your strategy and fuel your competitiveness. Knowing the right approach can make all the difference, so we gained some insights from noted thought leader and CRM expert Brian Vellmure and Wilson Raj, SAS Director of Customer Intelligence:

As a marketer, Vellmure stressed, the ability to understand and measure your customer’s journey at every touch point across multiple channels is core to your success. He also believes you should think of it as filling a jar with rocks:

  • Focus first on the big rocks - the structured data in your core enterprise systems.
  • Next, fill in around it with the small rocks - newer data types, like social media, video or sensor data.
  • The role of the small rocks is to add texture and color to the big picture provided by the big rocks.

Wilson Raj believes that marketing analytics presents great opportunities to create stellar customer experiences. If you can understand what's happening within the context of your customers' lives, you could could look for exceptions and opportunities to improve their experiences, persuade them to better choices or even be prepared for what they're about to do next.

He also posits that customer experience is no longer a nice-to-have, but a critical element of business strategy. The idea is that if you make integral to your corporate strategy, you can develop a customer experience so exceptional that competitors have difficulty replicating it.

These insights and many more were presented in a webinar produced recently for SAS by the CXPA, which we summarized in a conclusions paper titled, Leverage Marketing Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience. Please download it and read it at your leisure - the tid bits I captured in this post are just the tip of the iceberg.

As always, thank you for following! Let me know what you think.


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. The power is in the hands of the customer today, and they know it. That's why it's so important to provide them with a positive experience each and every time they interact with the brand. Monitoring customer experience and gaining insights into how the customer views the business can help with key business decisions moving forward.

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