A large part of making the right business decisions regarding marketing campaigns is having adequate information to spot underlying patterns. You need to base decisions on concrete data rather than a hunch.
One of the best ways to acquire this data is through business intelligence, which utilizes techniques like analytics, business performance management, and data mining to provide highly accurate reports. Let’s discuss the fundamentals of business intelligence and how it can be used to enhance your marketing efforts.
How it Works
The concept of business intelligence (BI) dates back over 50 years and has evolved greatly during this time. In the modern era, high-tech software platforms accumulate information from nearly all aspects of business operations. As more and more data is generated, it’s synthesized to create detailed analytics.
While it’s difficult to make much sense of raw data by itself, business intelligence essentially does the work for you and generates charts, graphs and other metrics that are relatively easy to digest. If you were wondering which online marketing strategies were bringing in the most traffic and leading to conversions, a BI system would alleviate the guesswork and provide a clearer picture.
No matter the industry, it’s possible to gain important insights regarding consumer behavior, the effectiveness of various marketing channels, and overall operations. Ultimately, this puts business owners in a position to be more proactive rather than reactive. Here are some ways that business intelligence can be used, along with the benefits they offer.
Provide Answers to Questions
When running a marketing campaign, there are often continual streams of questions that arise. Which marketing strategies are worth your time and money? Which simply don’t carry their weight? Maybe it’s best to primarily work on SEO and social media and scrap your PPC campaign. What’s the main consumer demographic that’s accounting for the bulk of sales? What marketing messages are resonating with that audience?
While it’s easy to speculate on the answers to these questions, there’s simply no substitute for hard data. By implementing business intelligence software, answers will present themselves in a tangible way. This means that definitive answers can be found in an efficient manner without the painstaking process of sifting through piles of paper.
Making continual improvements is often what separates successful businesses from others that flounder. Without a way to clearly determine positive or negative growth, it’s easy to stagnate. That’s where business intelligence software comes in. It provides indisputable data that shows which way your company is heading.
If everything is going well, you’ll know it. If progress isn’t where it should be, you can take the appropriate actions to right the ship and get back on course. On the other hand, a competitor without an effective form of business intelligence can be doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.
Better Understand Consumer Behavior
Since consumers are the lifeblood of a business, it’s critical to know what makes them tick. Whether it’s determining which online marketing channels they’re primarily using to find your sales page, product preferences, or general buying habits, gaining an in-depth understanding of their behavior is key to success. Once you identify who your best customers are and where they’re coming from, a particular marketing technique could be ramped up to find more customers like them.
If certain products are selling well during one season and hardly selling at all during another, adjustments could be made to put more of an emphasis on them during peak sales times. This will translate to a considerable edge over competitors who think they understand consumer behavior, but in reality are out of touch with consumers.
Save Money on Marketing
Without a clear understanding of which marketing techniques are working and which aren’t, it’s easy to overspend while getting only minimal results. Since the goal of a well-run marketing campaign is to maximize your ROI and minimize the average customer acquisition cost, it’s important to use the right tools to do so. Otherwise, a marketing budget can quickly become depleted without decisions based on solid statistics. Business intelligence software breaks intricate data down into easily-digestible reports that weigh the money spent versus money earned.
When a marketing strategy isn’t bringing in enough revenue to justify its implementation, it can be tweaked or replaced with a strategy that’s more effective. After some fine-tuning, you can expect a solid ROI and can cut back on overall marketing expenses considerably. When the competition is simply “throwing something up on the wall to see if it sticks,” it works to your benefit because your marketing campaign should be far more sustainable and bring in higher profit margins.
Stay Up to Date on Trends
The business world is constantly in flux; new trends can emerge at a moment’s notice. Consequently, it’s never been more important to stay current on what’s happening in your industry and respond accordingly. Outdated metrics that require manual work may have worked relatively well 10 or 20 years ago, but can be a millstone today.
This is especially true considering the rapid rate at which information is exchanged via the Internet. Since many types of business intelligence software offer up-to-the minute data, you are always equipped to make highly informed choices at all times. In turn, this puts you in a position to properly respond to industry fluctuations as they unfold.
Another big part of success revolves around accomplishing the most tasks in the least amount of time (ie, maximizing efficiency). Understanding which activities are having the most impact and which are having little or no impact should point you in the right direction when assigning tasks to team members in the future. If you’re managing numerous employees, it’s often difficult to tell what they’re doing with their time or which websites they’re visiting, and measure their overall productivity. For instance, one employee might be taking advantage of the situation and spending more time surfing the Internet instead of performing actual work.
When this type of behavior goes unchecked, it can be a serious detriment to your business and result in lost productivity and money. Business intelligence provides a better understanding of the traffic happening on your network, which helps to prevent problems, or address them before they become major. This added level of control should result in a sizable productivity boost.
The benefits of business intelligence software are numerous. This is why many companies are choosing to implement a BI solution. (Personally, I use and recommend Domo. In particular, I’ve found it to have the most intuitive dashboard and more of the right options for data points I want to track.)
When you take advantage of all the capabilities business intelligence software offers, it’s very difficult for competitors with unsophisticated metrics to keep up. Inevitably, this should lead to better customer relationships, more efficiency across the board, more streamlined and intelligent operations, and larger profits.