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Data is everywhere. We get that. However, the focus is no longer on who owns the MOST data, but how to turn this data into insights to solve business challenges and create competitive advantage.
Most companies are focused on just a fraction of what their data is telling them. However, according to a recent study by KPMG (source), 69% of companies consider it either crucial or very important to find better ways to use data and analytics.
Other key findings include:
The biggest benefits respondents see by becoming more efficient with using data and analytics include:
While it seems that most companies understand the benefits of data and analytics, the problem lies in how to actually implement an effective strategy. Many companies still suffer from data siloes or legacy systems. And the larger the company, the more data has grown and proliferated into multiple systems.
Many companies may argue that they have been handling data for years. Email marketing departments may work with email data and direct mail departments may work with a different set of data, and so on. Each department has access to specific (limited) data sets and then performs some type of analytics.
However, consumers today are more empowered, have more choices, and expect to be known across ALL channels. While some of these departmentalized strategies may have worked in the past, consumers won’t accept anything less than personalized communications and targeted offers. And just as importantly, if they don’t receive a seamless experience across channels, they will quickly head to the competition.
It is almost impossible to provide these seamless experiences when data on customers is spread across multiple systems. Without an integrated 360-degree view, data can’t be properly analyzed for insights into a customer’s likes and dislikes, lifestyles, purchase behavior, channel preferences, and more.
Each source of customer data must be pulled together into a data warehouse or marketing database to truly understand what is driving a customer’s actions. Once a 360-degree view is established, companies can identify a host of new opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, and maximize customer value.
Business intelligence solutions are designed to help companies gain the most insights into their data. These tool sets can be made available to a variety of users within the organization to aid in business areas such as customer service, market analysis, inventory, customer profiling, and campaign management. Companies can ensure that the right employees are given the same access to the same up-to-date information.
Using a business intelligence tool, a variety of customer characteristics can be analyzed such as demographics, purchase history, lifestyle, hobbies, and more. Customers can then be segmented according to similar behaviors and new opportunities can be identified.
Predictive analytics can also be applied to look beyond what consumers are doing today and predict what they may be doing tomorrow. By analyzing certain behavioral patterns, companies can predict which customers may be likely to leave the company, who may be in market for certain products, or which offers would be most appealing to certain customers.
Most companies have yet to realize the full potential and breadth of opportunities data can provide. However, companies are making the investments and are looking for new ways in which data can guide their actions.