How can marketing analytics tools help to grow your business?

By  Tiffany Jayne Carpenter Head of Customer Intelligence Solutions UKI

An increasing number of customer journeys are taking place through digital channels, and customers today use a variety of them to engage with brands and organisations on their own terms, whenever and wherever they choose. Customers can move from smartphone to desktop and to TV to store when they engage with a brand or organisation.

Many businesses organisations today know how vital digital and mobile channels are for acquiring and retaining customers, and most have developed a digital marketing plan to help them capitalise on those channels to engage and grow their audiences effectively.

Indeed, the proliferation of digital – and its widespread use as a medium – has meant that organisations have had to rapidly incorporate new technologies and tools to not only reach customers online, but also to facilitate and support their online marketing activity.

The problem for most organisations, however, is that often they have developed digital channels in isolation, resulting in inconsistency and dislocation between digital and physical channels.

This causes major frustration for today’s customers when, for example, they find they cannot complete an interaction they began online when they walk into the store. At the same time, organisations are struggling to join channels, data and marketing activities together in a meaningful way to understand customer journeys, build a single customer view, and work out where best to invest their marketing budget.

Consequently, marketers find themselves making decisions based on incomplete and isolated data points.

Marketing analytics, by contrast, considers all marketing efforts across all digital, mobile, and physical channels and over a span of time to enable sound decision making and effective, efficient marketing execution.

Why is marketing analytics important

With the plethora of data available online and offline, as well as numerous touchpoints throughout the customer journey, it's fundamentally essential that businesses have a way to understand and measure marketing performance across channels, as well as understand customers.

Marketing analytics tools enable organisations to bring their marketing efforts across channels into a single environment, connecting marketing activities to clearly understand how customers are engaging across channels. Data across channels can be readily monitored and analysed, enabling organisations to make sound decisions about when and where to spend their marketing budgets and deploy resources. The result is improved effectiveness and efficiency of marketing campaigns. 

What challenges do organisations face in consolidating marketing activity and data?

The challenge in deploying such solutions, however, is finding a suite capable of delivering the necessary functionalities.

Many organisations already have some marketing analytics tools in place, but while these tools deliver insight into the organisations marketing efforts, they are often individual solutions designed to report on a single channel or limited data point – such as web analytics, social media analytics, content performance and the like.

These solutions are added one-by-one to the organisation’s wider digital marketing technology stack in a piecemeal fashion – but as they are disconnected, they often fail to address critical digital marketing activities. To provide the necessary functionalities, organisations add yet more solutions to plug the gaps and while they work for a time, it becomes apparent that they cannot deliver the enterprise functionality the organisation needs.

Another problem that arises for organisations is that the data captured by these tools is sometimes scattered across the organisation and/or housed on legacy systems. As these tools are not integrated and work independently, it’s difficult to obtain a consolidated, end-to-end view of marketing activity across the enterprise. Gathering data for reporting and analysis is, therefore, no easy task as departments across the organisation must compile information from separate tools into a detailed report. There will no doubt be duplication, inconsistency, missing information and a number of other problems.

To top it off, the growing complexity of data means that if organisations are to understand customer interactions across channels and actually leverage that insight to create data-driven campaigns, they need the right solutions to analyse and process that data.  

Organisations and brands need a platform capable of managing every aspect of their marketing

When it comes to marketing analytics tools, rather than a series of disparate solutions, organisations need a single, scalable solution capable of not only bringing all of their marketing activity together in the same environment, but also providing the means to enhance activities across channels based on real-time data. 

SAS provides such a solution – a solution that allows organisations to use data, analytics and insights on prospects and customers to create relevant, individualised experiences in real time. The SAS Customer Intelligence suite is a unified, open analytics platform with unmatched breadth and depth:

  • third-party technologies and data sources (from advanced data management tools to open APIs) can be integrated with the platform;
  • the platform can be expanded and customised as necessary;
  • real-time tools, predictive analytics and machine learning provide organisations with the means to adapt to and anticipate customer needs;
  • marketing optimisation tools can help organisations to understand where customers are in the customer journey and map out ideal customer journeys;
  • organisations can analyse the performance of their marketing initiatives – both how they are performing now and how they will perform in the future – as well as what they can do to improve them;
  • and finally, with the SAS Customer Intelligence suite, organisations can optimise their marketing resource, investing the right amount of time and money into the  right channels and campaigns whilst prioritising investments.

To succeed in the digital landscape and actually connect with customers across channels, organisations must acquire or invest in marketing analytics tools. With a suite of customer intelligence solutions, such as those that SAS provide, organisations have the data they need to make enterprise-wide marketing decisions, and build complete customer profiles that help them to refine and enhance marketing programmes. 

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