If you're like most marketers today, you're swimming in data. It's never been more important to be able to make sense of all the numbers—and then to use those data-driven insights to improve each customer's experience.
Until now, compiling this data to gain customer insights has been difficult, if not overwhelming—and cost-prohibitive. However, new integration developments are bringing all this disparate information together to form one crisp, clear picture of the customer.
Despite these strides forward, many companies continue to struggle with analytics. Different analytical tools are used by different internal departments, often with no coordination. Different pools of data—derived from email interactions, websites, mobile devices, stores or call centers—are never tied together. Analytics for different platforms, such as mobile, social and web, are used independently but often not integrated.
As a result, companies find that every time they add in another mechanism for engaging with the customer, they're getting more data about that individual in yet another pool that isn't integrated with anything else. This fragmentation makes it hard to know what's really going on with the customer. It makes it difficult to look at the customer's path to purchase as one single journey, rather than a set of unconnected touch points. In fact, a company can spend untold resources on data collection without ever even using that information to grow its business.
But with the new breed of analytics platforms just becoming available, marketers can pull all of their data together, allowing them to streamline data analysis and take advantage of the insights available from these different data sources—while also avoiding the fragmentation problem.
Stop Swimming in Data
Today, a smart marketer can take advantage of new approaches to make that data work for the brand. By using an integrated platform to pull all the disparate data together, marketers can gain insights about the customer journey, then find those customers at each step of their individual paths and identify the journeys that lead to the most conversions—and those that too frequently lead to abandoned shopping carts. They can use analysis to identify what's working and what's not: which paths generate the most revenue, for instance, or which ones are the fastest to a purchase.
If companies can combine the work they do to analyze customer journeys with their analysis of customer struggles—and if they can move seamlessly between looking at individual customers and analyzing the bigger audience—over time, insights grow and a full, rich picture begins to emerge. The whole, then, is greater than the sum of its parts.
Even better? Comprehensive, integrated, automated analytics like these can lead to all sorts of business benefits.
Boosting Conversion Rates
According to a new study by Econsultancy and IBM, companies with elite capabilities in multiple disciplines of customer analytics see an advantage over their peers in tangible metrics such as conversion rate, customer satisfaction and even revenue growth.
Respondents with strong analytics accounted for about 20% of the surveyed companies. These elite companies enjoy conversion rates 104% higher—more than double—than those with less sophisticated approaches. This group also reports revenue growth 19% higher than the rest of the companies surveyed.
Of these elite analytics companies, 79% say they have an integrated platform approach to analytics—compared to only 7% among the laggards. In addition, 81% of these elite performers say they are highly successfully sharing data between teams.
Any company can work to make this happen by pulling information sources together, integrating analytic tools and using a consolidated platform with a dashboard that provides access to all these different assessments at once.
Using Analytics to Reach Goals
Once an integrated system is employed, a company can use analytics not only as a way to measure a campaign after the fact, but also to reach a specific objective.
Say a retailer's goal is to maximize revenue among customers who buy women's pants. Integrated analytics will allow the retailer to look at what customer journey—which series and combination of touch points—results in the highest revenue. Analytics will pull in data from social media, mobile, websites and other channels—and visually show how the customer progresses through those touch points.
The retailer may find customers who started at email, went to mobile, then the website, back to the website on a different day and then ordered through the call center. Other customers' journeys might go from the website to mobile to email and then a conversion. But the analytics show that mobile is the common bond in this scenario—suggesting that this campaign should put mobile front and center, possibly through social media, to maximize results.
Integrated analytics allow the marketer to design a campaign based around the journey the customer is actually taking—not the journey the marketer wants them to take. This approach also allows a company to explore questions such as: What is the impact of mobile campaigns on my in-store sales?
Who wouldn't want the answer to that?
Without an integrated platform, a company might be able to look at individual sets of data, but not be able to tie them together. With the right solution and open data system, this can be automated, allowing marketers to focus on gaining customer insights and taking informed action—and this is the key to understanding what is important and where valuable marketing dollars should be spent.
About the Author
Elizabeth Magill manages marketing for IBM Customer Analytics solutions within the IBM Commerce division. In this capacity, she leads a team of portfolio marketers who develop thought leadership, positioning and sales enablement for IBM's solutions that allow businesses to understand their customers with quantitative and qualitative analytics. Elizabeth brings over 15 years of experience in product marketing for leading software and service companies in the customer analytics and customer experience space, including DemandTec, Coremetrics and Aspect Communications. Elizabeth holds a B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara and an M.A. from Georgetown University.
About the Sponsor
IBM helps you create unbreakable bonds with your customers. Through a powerful set of tools and solutions for marketing, e-commerce and customer analytics, you can understand your customers, identify the moments that matter most and respond immediately with experiences that surprise and delight. Become a customer-oriented business, unleash the power of cognitive commerce and tap into an endless universe of information and possibilities. Learn more at ibm.com/cxanalytics.