Comprehensive customer intelligence has become a priority for midsized companies. Insight derived from advanced analytics expands understanding of current and potential customers, and helps to achieve competitive advantage based on improved and more targeted marketing and sales. Sophisticated marketing technologies such as adaptive marketing and marketing automation require very precise customer knowledge to provide value both to companies and to their customers. To accomplish these imperatives, marketers need continuously updated and full-bodied views of customers and prospects to strengthen communications and support for all interactions and activities during the customer lifecycle.
McKinsey has focused on the ROI of big data analytics for marketing functions:
McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.
Source: IBM (full infographic below)
Many relevant information sources for advanced analytics related to marketing fall into the 'big data' category, which requires specialized skills and analytics processes. Marketing groups in midsized companies still have obstacles to overcome to gain the full use and benefits of advanced analytics, including adding more team members with the right skills and finding the right-fit analytics solutions. Information Week shared this information from a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit:
When asked which skills were most necessary for a successful marketer today, 37% of executives said that "using data analysis to extract predictive findings from 'big data'" mattered most. Five years ago, just 17% of executives said this was true, the EIU report says.
Source: IBM (full infographic below)
Marketing investments for working with a wider range of data sources through sophisticated analytics can bring big dividends to the entire organization. The results of customer and product analytics are of great value to functions across the organization including: customer service, product strategy and development, corporate strategies, and financial planning. In this sense, marketing analytics should be a holistic investment and obviously a strategic initiative from top to bottom for midsized companies.
Making use of advanced analytics is not meant to replace the creative vision and innovative ideas that humans develop and that are so important for effective marketing endeavors. But marketing functions need advanced analytics to keep the customer in full focus as the most important element for applying insightful context and relevance. In many cases, creativity is made better with insight from analytics for validation and amplification of the creative spark, as well as indicators of how to apply creative thinking. Marketers in midsized companies need to be 'data smarter' so as not to waste valuable (and frequently expensive) creative efforts and programs.
IBM Analytics Infographic: A Big Advantage for Midsize Businesses
IBM provides a great deal of research on analytics for Midmarket organizations, including the white paper: Analytics: A Blueprint for Value in Midmarket Organizations
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective