In this data-driven age, marketers and communicators are beginning to understand the truly omnipotent power of data analytics for branding, positioning, tracking, targeting and a host of other metrics-oriented services. The missing piece of the puzzle so far has been figuring out how to tap into the right data to generate real results.
One thing we do know is that data-driven marketing is intended to increase engagement. New research by MIT Sloan Management Review indicates that companies gaining a true competitive advantage from data and analytics are twice as likely to make effective use of analytics to improve customer engagement. Data and analytics are allowing these innovators to use intelligence from feedback to tailor offerings that improve customer satisfaction.
The new report, Using Analytics to Improve Customer Engagement, sponsored by SAS, is based on results from a global survey of more than 1,900 business executives and personal interviews with more than a dozen senior managers. In addition to using analytics to improve customer engagement, the survey also finds that analytical innovators take advantage of multiple data sources to glean new customer insights and deepen their relationships.
Is your company analytically challenged?
Among what the survey categorized as “analytically challenged” organizations, 75 percent tap at least one external data source to inform their models. On the other hand, “analytical innovators” are almost five times as likely to use data from all four of these external sources: customers, vendors, competitors, and public sources.
In other findings, companies continue to struggle to extract actionable insights from the mushrooming data storehouse. Notably, the gap between more access to useful data and the ability to develop practicable insights has doubled, from 14 percent in 2012 to 28% in 2017. Only 49 percent of respondents in 2017 reported being able to use data to guide future strategy, compared with 55 percent in 2016.
The study also highlights some enduring data and analytics challenges for companies:
Striking the balance in data-human partnerships
Humans still have an important role to play in delivering the fruits of automation and analytics to both customers and employees. Striking the right balance between humans and machines continues to prove immensely challenging.
Leadership and culture
Promoting robust analytics activities can challenge long-standing norms and practices. For many companies, it is the cultural piece that will be the biggest obstacle to success, not the technology aspects.
Organizing for analytics
Traditional structures and silos within an organization, while necessary for fostering deep expertise, can be an impediment to enterprise-wide coordination. One task for leaders is to identify data bottlenecks within the organization and support cross-functional data sharing.
As more corners of an organization embrace analytics, it’s important to carefully define measurement practices.
A perennial pitfall is ensuring the integrity of the data companies are collecting and analyzing. Companies successful with analytics understand the critical nature of data cleansing and invest accordingly.