Want To Boost Business? Conquer The Data

conor-mcgovern“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Conor McGovern, managing director at Accenture Interactive.

Fueled by the proliferation of mobile devices, consumers expect brands to deliver relevant experiences and fulfill their needs at every touch point. To successfully reach consumers, companies must harness data analytics to understand consumers’ intent and develop a strategy to connect with them at the right time and place.

Unfortunately, many marketers struggle with properly managing and using the consumer data they collect. To succeed, marketers must adopt a data-driven culture by breaking down organizational silos and learning to work seamlessly with IT and analytics teams to drive innovation.

According to an Accenture study conducted with more than 400 global marketing executives, more than 70% of respondents recognize the need for a major digital transformation of the marketing organization to reach consumers and give their companies a competitive advantage. As digital budgets increase to fund this transformation, the heaviest investment is expected to be in customer experience and data-analytics capabilities. Accordingly, approximately one-quarter of senior marketers plan to dedicate 41-60% of their employees to marketing, media and customer analytics this year, a 5% increase over 2012.

To create relevant customer experiences, achieve marketing return on investment, and align priorities with the company’s business objectives, marketers must enhance their analytics capabilities in four key areas:

1. Test and learn: Constantly test, measure and cultivate new marketing ideas. Pilot test marketing campaigns in limited channels before launching them on a larger scale across multiple channels. Evaluate their effectiveness. 

2. Measurements and evaluation: Analytics and measurement should be built into all aspects of marketing. Identify investment opportunities to increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts across various customer segments in all channels.

3. Insights and understanding: Marketers should employ analytics to gain a deeper understanding of the business, product or campaign, and to learn why it is performing in a particular way. Then they should use forecasting, scenario planning and optimization to modify future performance. For example, use algorithm-based automated forecasting tools to avoid unforeseen and unwelcome situations, such as overstocking inventory and poor coordination between demand planning and trade marketing.

4.  Performance Analysis: Adopt a holistic approach to marketing analytics that captures all key drivers of performance. For instance, design a flexible pricing- and promotions-simulation model that accounts for other marketing and media activities and competitor responses.

When a company combines a collaborative mindset with the four recommended analytics tactics, they can create a culture that embraces the wealth of data, rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.

The transformation to a data-driven marketing organization is a process. In order to be successful, marketers must take an agile approach to analytics and break through the silos to work with their analytics team to deliver to the consumer and meet business goals.

Follow Accenture Interactive (@AccentureSocial), Conor (@cbm1001) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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