Who's the king of advanced customer analytics?

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The age of the customer is upon us. As data-driven marketers, we are now challenged by senior leaders to take a laser-focus on the customer journey, and optimize the path of consumer interactions with your brand. Within that journey, there are a number of trends (or challenges) to focus on:

  1. Deeply understanding your target audience to anticipate their needs and desires
  2. At a minimum, meeting their expectations (although aiming higher can help differentiate your brand from the pack)
  3. Address their pain points to increase your brand's relevance

According to Forrester Research in their Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016 report, no matter where customer insight professionals sit within the marketing organization, line of business or centralized customer intelligence team, it is their job to employ advanced customer analytics to generate this insight. In the study, Forrester employed a 33-criteria evaluation of customer analytics vendors, and identified the 11 most significant software providers in this category. Forrester researched, analyzed, and scored them. This evaluation details their findings about how well each vendor fulfills their criteria and where each vendor stands in relation to each other. Click here to see the results! ForresterAs I imagine many of you reading this blog posting are users of SAS technology, let's say it together:

That's right baby!!! #ILoveSAS

Okay, after completing my little happy dance, let's get serious again. The report begins with a very interesting headline, that some of you might find debatable, that reads as:

You don’t need a Ph.D. for advanced customer analytics

How does that make you feel? I would imagine for some, it might be inspiring, motivating, and aspirational. For others, you might be raising an eyebrow in suspicion. Personally, based on my interpretation, I believe it speaks to the exciting era of approachable analytic technology and innovation that we are living in. The authors of the report proceed to share observations on the current bottleneck of available data science talent, and the market demand for their talent far exceeding supply. Due to this phenomenon, the job of deriving valuable insights is increasingly becoming the responsibility of data-driven marketers who need friendly tools for data management and analytics.

Marketing analytic ninjas - please stand up!

The next big headline stirs the geeky juices of data science enthusiasts by stating:

Don’t assume you can use traditional analytics to uncover deep customer insights

Calling for the usage of a new breed of algorithms, methods, and advanced analytical techniques, leveraging all your data (vs. statistical sampling), and moving past the reliance of reports (because let's be honest, many organizations are still drowning in endless dashboards). Additional differentiators that are called out include:

  1. Delivering output at the customer level - We are living in the age of the customer, not the age of the aggregated, siloed marketing channel. Customer-centric analysis is a transformation of approach for many organizations, but the benefits can be massive.
  2. Predicting the future - Across the entire customer journey, predictive marketing is all the rage!
  3. Leveraging new data types and sources - Semistructured and unstructured data continue to be under-exploited by marketing organizations, and this needs to come to an end. The technology and tools are in place and available today to enable analysis of these data sources

Jumping ahead past the evaluation's criteria scores (link available below for those yummy details), here is what Forrester had to state about SAS:

"Consider SAS if you are looking to drive innovation in customer analytics. As the only company in this evaluation whose sole focus is on analytics, SAS excels at analytics production — that is, turning data into insights. It invests heavily in its customer intelligence suite to ensure that its solutions anticipate and even drive innovation in this space for marketers. With real-time data ingestion and integration, regular addition of new algorithms, and a robust selection of model management and deployment options, the limitations you will encounter with using SAS for customer analytics are less likely to be with the core functionality than with your team’s ability to use them."Innovator

Wow! We love this viewpoint, and are extremely pleased with the assessment. SAS is strongly committed (maybe obsessed) to innovating customer analytics by adapting solutions to meet our clients’ ever-changing data, business and deployment needs.

  For those of you interested in reading the entire press release, it is available here.

When you're ready to explore more, please start with these technologies:

We look forward to beginning a customer analytic journey with you soon.Forrester2

The Forrester Wave™ is copyrighted by Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester and Forrester Wave™ are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. The Forrester Wave™ is a graphical representation of Forrester's call on a market and is plotted using a detailed spreadsheet with exposed scores, weightings, and comments. Forrester does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in the Forrester Wave. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out my other work here. Lastly, if you would like to connect on social media, link with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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About Author

Suneel Grover

Advisory Solutions Architect

Suneel Grover is an Advisory Solutions Architect supporting Digital Intelligence, Marketing Analytics and Omni-Channel Marketing at SAS. By providing client-facing services for SAS in the areas of predictive analytics, digital analytics, visualization and data-driven integrated marketing, Grover provides technical consulting support in industry verticals such as media, entertainment, hospitality, communications, and sports. In addition to his role at SAS, Grover is an professorial lecturer at The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington DC, teaching in the Masters of Science in Business Analytics graduate program within the School of Business and Decision Science. Through this hybrid of activity, he provides thought leadership through white papers, featured speaker presentations, and program advisory services for entities such as the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Indiana University (IUSB), University of Missouri (UMSL), Radford University (RU-COBE), and New York University (NYU-SCPS). In addition to his contributions to industry and academia, Grover has a MBA in Marketing Research & Decision Science from The George Washington University (GWU) and a MS in Integrated Marketing Analytics from New York University (NYU).

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