Making gains – how brands can value from data analytics by
Elissa Fink, CMO, Tableau

The amount of data stored on the internet is growing year on year and is expected to be 44 times larger in 2020 than it was in 2009. That’s a lot of information to work with. It’s no surprise then that marketers are overwhelmed and looking for ways to leverage data to better reach their customers.

This is where data analytics can help. From a marketing perspective, data analytics transforms rows of data into insights about things such as customer preferences, purchasing history and spending behaviour, so brands can have an informed picture of customer activity to boost sales, drive marketing, and even determine store layout in order to improve service.

In today’s increasingly competitive market, business analytics offers marketers an opportunity they can’t afford to ignore, and it’s time to recognise the real value it can bring.

Getting the full picture

To keep one step ahead of the competition, marketers need to gain fast, easy and accessible insights from their data. The age of not knowing customer desires, motives, needs and behaviour is in the past. Technology solutions available today, such as data analytics software, can help build a more complete picture of customer trends and behaviours.

It’s a simple truth that the more brands know about their customers, the better they are able to offer them goods and services they want and need. A full picture allows brands to target consumers with content relevant to them as an individual. It’s a win-win for both parties.

Better targeting is about delivering engaging material. For retailers, opportunities are wide-ranging, and data analytics enables them to improve promotions and increase multi-channel sales. 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 has been able to tell which channels work best for which demographic enabling them to focus their efforts on reaching those most engaged with the brand.

Marrying data with emotion

Today, data is much more than a numbers game. It’s rarely thought of as an emotional subject, but data analytics is doing a lot to bring data and emotion together. Data analytics reveals insights into human behaviour – from online engagement and purchase decisions, to insight behind a customer opting out of a purchase at check-out.

Brands need to invest in business analytics so numbers can be turned into meaningful insights that help drive business success. By identifying and responding to trends, data can become more emotional and represent a person or group, rather than simply a statistic.

Visual analytics can help monitor campaigns, identify issues and track activity. This gives brands valuable insight into what their audiences are engaging with, so they know how to adapt and tailor their strategy going forward. This helps brand sustainability because efforts can be focused on actions that are proven to work. Efficiency will grow and ROI will increase alongside it.

Taking the lead by looking externally

Some companies are already making the most of data analytics to gain insights into their customers. The retail industry has identified a great opportunity to use data analytics to combine external factors – such as weather, population growth or public transportation – with data around customer’s purchase behaviour in order to provide services that are timely and more meaningful.

By investing in the tools and techniques to better understand customers, marketers put themselves in good stead to flourish in today’s fast-paced market. Brands invest in data analytics to achieve a more holistic view of their customers’ preferences. This in turn transforms ‘dead’ data from rows of numbers to living insights brands can leverage to better target and engage with customers. Long lasting relationships are key to giving brands the edge, and that’s something they can all achieve with data analytics.

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Elissa FinkElissa Fink
Tableau Software’s Chief Marketing Officer

With 20+ years helping companies improve their marketing operations through applied data analysis, Elissa has held executive positions in marketing, business strategy, product management, and product development. She’s a frequent speaker and has spoken at conferences including the DMA, NCDM, PSAMA and others. Elissa is a graduate of Santa Clara University and holds an MBA in Marketing and Decision Systems from the University of Southern California. In 2013, Elissa joined the Board of the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA).