Hindsight, Insight, Foresight: Emerging Ways to View Customer Data and Create Enterprise Value
By Christine Cutten and Jennifer MacMillan, Deloitte Consulting LLP
As digital technology transforms the ways companies reach out to customers and build their brands, it is also creating a wealth of data. New bits of information are created when someone clicks a pop-up ad, downloads a PDF, places an item in an online shopping cart, or posts on a message board. Mining this information to learn more about a company’s marketplace has become common: 75 percent of the executives responding to the 2011 CMO Council survey indicated that they use page views, click-thrus and registrations to track the effectiveness of their online marketing and advertising. Thirty-four percent responded that they intend to automate social media monitoring and data mining in 2011, while 23 percent plan to invest more in web analytics. By examining their market data, companies can learn when, where, why, how and what customers are buying.
The forward-looking marketing organization
Innovative companies and agencies are using customer data for far more than marketing decisions. Business analytics has emerged as a leading practice that leverages market data to drive business strategy and improve performance. When business analytics is coupled with the use of digital engagement channels, marketing groups can become the beacons of the organization and establish a critical competitive advantage.
Today’s technology allows analytics to expand beyond the realm of market research firms and statisticians. Analytics should overlay and inform marketing programs from planning through execution, including testing creative and selecting media channels, zeroing in on promising markets, redirecting budget dollars and leveraging digital channels. Analytics can help companies manage processes and deliver new insights between and across functional areas throughout the enterprise. As a result, analytics can be used to support the CMO survey respondents’ top organizational goal, which is to improve the alignment of marketing, sales and channels to deliver on top-line growth.
As insight from analytics is applied, marketing planning shifts from intuition and creative hunches to fact-based decision making. Marketing organizations can leverage this information to become better-equipped to make decisions about evaluating viable products, pinpointing markets and media channels and allocating marketing resources. Companies gain rapid feedback on whether or not a campaign is working, so adjustments in strategy or delivery can be made quickly to achieve the desired results. Vision can be shaped and formed as new predictive analytics offer foresight into coming trends and expectations.
As a result, marketing organizations can lower costs, leverage resources, improve campaign effectiveness and realize a higher return on their marketing investment. For example, 59 percent of respondents to the CMO survey expect to significantly increase efficiency and campaign effectiveness as a result of implementing various automated marketing solutions. Survey participants also expect improvement in organizational yield and accountability, the volume and quality of opportunities and prospects and overall operational visibility and output.
Today, companies and agencies have an opportunity to build a marketing organization based on a coordinated platform that unites people, processes and technology. Integrated, analytics-based solutions can be applied across a range of capabilities, including financial planning and budgeting, financial management and reconciliation, campaign and activity planning, creative development and production, asset management and distribution, campaign management and effectiveness reporting.
Achieving this new marketing organization requires transformation to deal with the increasing complexity of the marketplace. Companies recognizing this shift are responding by building up their marketing and customer analytics capabilities. In fact, 37 percent of CMO survey respondents indicate that developing these capabilities are talent priorities for 2011.
Create more value with a comprehensive view
While creative positioning and customer insights will always be at the heart of marketing, integrated business analytics, coupled with emerging digital engagement methods, can strengthen strategy, execution and analysis. Analytics can provide insights at specific steps in the process to help marketing organizations prioritize opportunities and address potential gaps. Agencies and marketing organizations that adopt this holistic approach by leveraging an integrated end-to-end platform, should be well-positioned to benefit from hindsight gained from historical marketing information; insight gleaned from customer, market, campaign, competitive, finance and accounting data; and foresight into innovative ways to connect with internal and external customers, all with the goal of creating value for the enterprise.