Seven benefits from using marketing analytics

Sunset over Marshall Field's Chicago, circa 2014
Sunset over Marshall Field's Chicago, circa 2014
[photo credit: Barry Butler Photography]
"Give the lady what she wants" and "The customer is always right" are quotes attributed to the venerable Chicago retailing pioneer Marshall Field. That customer-centered approach to doing business was leading-edge at the close of the 19th century and soon became a competitive advantage for Mr. Field's namesake department store empire.

Fast-forward more than a century, and it turns out that same customer-centered approach remains a best practice for marketing, but what's different is the operating environment. And in some ways, being customer centric is at once more challenging and more achievable than it was in the 1890s. The key lies in using marketing analytics.

In today's market, there are very few situations where one-size-fits-all marketing is the best approach. Customers are empowered, and unhappy customers will flock to competitors, often taking their friends with them. As a result, organizations can't afford to forgo efforts to know their customers as well as possible. And it's the companies that can quickly turn data into intelligence that have a leg up in the race to attract and retain their customers.

A recent TDWI checklist report, Applying Analytics with Big Data for Customer Intelligence, does a nice job of highlighting seven benefits from using marketing analytics and providing compelling examples of how those benefits play out in practice:

  1.  Gain a full view of customers across channels.
    Considering the explosion of channels facing marketers today, this benefit can't be overstated - bricks-and-mortar locations, kiosks, call centers mobile, partners, e-commerce, social media and more. A key first step is to develop a strategy for accessing and integrating customer data and then analyzing multiple sources.
  2. Become more proactive and effective.
    Marketing analytics can help organizations anticipate customer and market behavior and respond proactively. Marketing analytics includes solutions that perform statistical or data mining methods that enable you to develop and score predictive models based on combinations of variables.
  3. Personalize your marketing and customer engagements
    Marketing analytics enable organizations to explore how customers in defined segments behave differently, and even predict customers’ likelihood to respond to different offers. Doing that enables them to tailor the timing, content and delivery channel of offers to fit the preferences of customers, or to channel Marshall Field and "give the lady what she wants."
  4. Sharpen social media strategies
    This goes hand-in-hand with personalizing customer engagements, with the added benefit of getting an ongoing 24x7 focus group of sorts. By using social media analytics, organizations get a candid external perspective, can identify influencers, and can complete the picture of customer value.
  5. Engage your customers in real-time
    Combining speed with intelligence can provide a competitive advantage in-person, on line or on the phone. Real-time decisioning puts all channels on the same playing field enable the same care as the smartly-dressed attentive Marshall Fields' sales clerks of yore.
  6. Visualize success across the enterprise
    Data visualization brings analytics within reach of non-technical marketers, and therefore enables sharing, collaboration and decision-making to collectively become more efficient and effective.
  7. Treat data as a strategic asset
    If customer data weren't valuable, we wouldn't have hackers continually breaking in and stealing it. But locking it up in a vault is also not the answer. A balance has to be struck between data access for analytics and privacy and governance to safeguard the interests of both the organization and the customers.

Applying Analytics with Big Data for Customer Intelligence has much more detail than what I've summarized here, and it's worth the effort to download and read it.

Check it out and let me know what you think. As always, thank you for following!


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I held a number of marketing roles at SAS as Content Strategist, Industry Field Marketing and as Go-to-Marketing Lead for our Customer Intelligence Solutions. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions, and sometimes challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I am an avid downhill snow skier, hiker and beach enthusiast. I stay busy with my family, volunteering for civic causes, 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 get by with 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.


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