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Guest Blogger

Elissa Fink, CMO of Tableau Software

It’s a well-known fact that data is vital to the success of any business.  Data analytics provides greater insight into customer behaviour, leading to new business opportunities. It also offers a more complete picture of the business so that decisions aren’t made based on only one perspective, but with a more holistic view.

Today, data analytics is no longer limited to the ‘techies’ or ‘data scientists’ of a company – those individuals who excel at coding and algorithms.  In fact, companies should develop a data-driven culture, encouraging employees across departments to dig into their own data to ask questions and find insights that will create new opportunities and drive business value.

For many businesses, the goal of engaging customers and keeping them engaged is one of the top priorities. In today’s increasingly competitive market, data analytics offers marketers an opportunity to improve the customer experience, deliver more value-driven content, and provide more personalised service.  It’s time for businesses to recognise the real value it can bring.

Getting the full picture for improved customer experience

To keep one step ahead of the competition, marketers need to gain fast, accessible and valuable insights from their data.  The age of not knowing customer preferences, needs and behaviour is in the past.  With the technology available today, such as data analytics software, marketers can have a more complete picture of customer trends and behaviours.  Empowered with this technology, employees can ask the important ‘why’ questions, as they go deeper into their data and discover insights into what’s happening within the market.

It’s a simple truth that the more brands know about customers, the better they are able to deliver the goods and services customers want. A fuller picture of the customer experience allows brands to offer customers and prospects the most relevant content, when and where they want it.

Take an example from retail.  Consumer goods retailer MUJI analysed more than 300 million rows of data to enhance its understanding of activity and results across its 640 stores, as well as online and on its mobile app. The retailer quickly understood which channels work best for which demographic, enabling them to focus their efforts on reaching those most engaged with the brand.  Analysing data has brought wide-ranging opportunities to MUJI, from improving promotions to increasing multi-channel sales.

Marrying data with emotion for better business

Today, data is much more than a numbers game. The use of data analytics has started to raise questions about how data and human emotion interact.  Data analytics reveals insights into human behaviour – from online engagement and purchase decisions, to a better understanding of customers’ pain-points in the purchasing process.

Brands need to invest in data analytics so that numbers become meaningful insights and drive business success.  For example, a marketer can analyse a large number of data points to identify trends within groups of people and then drill down to individuals to find out more – this brings a level of not just data understanding, but human understanding about what’s happening and why.

In addition to behaviour and trends, data analytics leads to a better understanding of campaigns by identifying potential issues early on and tracking engagement levels and uptake – even in real-time.  This gives brands valuable insight into what their audiences are engaging with, so they know how to adapt and tailor their strategy.  Brands therefore work with greater agility and confidence – tweaking campaigns on the fly according to what the data shows, and making decisions for future campaigns based on data-driven results.

Blending data sets to take the lead

Many companies are using data analytics to gain a better understanding of customers. The retail industry is a key example of combing both internal and external data points for better business insights.   External data such as weather, population growth or public transportation, married with internal data around purchase behaviour, for example, can unlock new opportunities that are timely and more meaningful.

By bringing together diverse data sets, retailers are improving the availability and diversity of products that are popular during specific times of the year. We all know how temperamental UK weather is, but when the sun does shine retail stores often see a surge in purchases of barbeques and ice creams. By using data analytics, retailers can ensure that specific stores in areas where the temperature has risen are well equipped with the right products and stock to support increased demand.

Today’s top marketers are using data to move the needle in pockets across the organization.  By bringing together multiple data sets for a more complete view, businesses can leverage the full value of data. This means that departments across the business can connect dots to uncover actionable insights, influencing strategy at the organizational level.  With data analytics, entire organizations work smarter, innovate faster, and gain a competitive edge.