Compared to traditional marketing, digital has a great advantage – it is easily trackable which gives it vast potential for business intelligence (BI). Almost every online marketing channel comes with built-in analytics or can be integrated with a third-party solution to measure how users interact with it and quantify its effectiveness. However, with big data comes big responsibility – and making sense of all these numbers and leveraging them to work for you is very important.
Business intelligence utilizes a variety of tools and tactics to gather, organize, analyze, and present data, derived from different sources. Employing various business intelligence techniques allows you to adopt a data-driven approach to your digital marketing strategy and can significantly improve the results of your campaigns.
The core purpose of business intelligence is to enable you to leverage the constant flow of data that modern marketing platforms generate and use it to make better business decisions.
Sorting through and analyzing this ocean of information manually can be cumbersome for some and next to impossible for most. Luckily, in the digital era, we’ve got clever tools and artificial intelligence to back us up and make our job easier.
A business intelligence solution can integrate data from your CRM software, social media, email campaign, site-wide tagging, and all your other sources, to deliver comprehensible information.
Read on to find out how to leverage the potential of business intelligence in your digital marketing strategy and significantly improve the performance of your campaigns.
1. Find the Right Business Intelligence Tools for Your Company
There are many great BI tools out there packed with useful features. To make an informed decision and a smart investment, you should first define your goals and consider which ones deliver value to your strategy, without the extra costs. After all, there’s no need for the most expensive solution on the market if you are not going to use all the fancy features it has.
To identify the software that will best fit your needs, consider the following:
Who Is Going to Use It?
Analyze the human resources you have at your disposal and consider who is going to use the business intelligence software. Is it going to be a tech person, an analyst, a marketer, or a regular person?
Pro solutions can be very advanced and deliver in-depth results, this is why they often need an experienced analyst to operate them. Experts know what to do with the data, and the business intelligence program will help them do it faster and with precision.
Moreover, if you buy such a tool but have no expert on your team, it might be difficult and time-consuming to educate someone to become familiar with it; and in the end, they might never become fully fluent in it. As a result, you won’t be able to take full advantage of all the features the software offers.
Self-service solutions, on the other hand, can be managed by every marketer on your team, but allow you less hands-on control over the tasks you can perform. This means that if you have analysis experts on board, who know their way around the data and want to be involved in every step in the process, they might find the automated software more of a complication than a benefit.
All in all, the BI tools you invest in should conform to the level of expertise of your team members. To make the best choice, you should assess both the manpower in your company and how equipped they are to work with the new software. If you are running a small team, you can even invite everyone involved to join the research and the decision-making process.
To sum up, even the smartest solutions, if not handled properly, will not deliver the expected results and may become a waste of time, money, and resources.
Is There Sufficient Documentation?
Most providers offer a library of tutorials, guides, and other resources, to facilitate easy onboarding of new users.
Even if you have expert analysts on your team, every program is different and requires users to spend some time learning its features to see how it works.
Make sure that the tools you choose have sufficient resources so that your employees will not feel lost when trying to find their way around the new software. Furthermore, this will ensure that you benefit from the program’s full value.
What Is the Price?
BI software can be pricey. However, the most expensive solution is not always the best choice for your company’s needs.
Even free tools such as the ones Google offers can deliver top-notch results if used to their full potential. So before you make a substantial investment, make sure you are taking full advantage of those already at your disposal.
Free software can also be useful when trying to identify what features you use the most, what is missing, and what can be added.
Once you’ve done that, consider testing out the solutions that meet your requirements and are free or have a free trial. The gratis period will allow you to have a better understanding of whether the BI software has what you need and how well your team can manage it.
2. Embrace the Data-Driven Approach
Business intelligence runs on big data. But in order for raw data to be turned into intel that you can leverage for your digital marketing strategy, it has to go through a process of transformation, storing, analysis, dashboarding, and visualization.
Many modern solutions are self-service, which, generally, means that they can be managed by users without a tech background or analytical knowledge. The processes are automated and the interface of the program is intuitive.
However, as mentioned, if you have advanced users on board, you may want to invest in a tool where the user has control over the processes and is more involved.
The data processing in business intelligence follows certain steps, that, depending on the tool, may have different levels of self-service:
Gather and Store the Data
It all starts, of course, with generating data from the platforms and channels you use, such as CRM software, social media, website tracking, and analytics from different channels. This data is raw and has to be cleaned up, sorted through, and transformed in order to be used.
Some tools operate using raw data from data lakes and do the data transformation in-app, while others need to be connected to a data warehouse where the data has already been transformed.
Organize and Analyze the Data
Next, the data has to be organized into models or into online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes. The goal of this step is to have the information standardized into consistent and manageable forms that can be analyzed and made sense of. Once ready, the data can be used by analytics professionals and business users who can run analytical queries against the data.
In self-service tools, the process is simplified and can often be done by entry-level users in a point-and-click manner. The software analyzes and aggregates the data and transforms it into meaningful and structured information.
Manage the Data
Finally, the modeled data is used to build dashboards, visualizations, and reports that can be presented to decision-makers and leveraged in strategic and tactical planning.
3. Enjoy the Benefits of Using Business Intelligence in Digital Marketing
Business intelligence can serve as a powerful lever for your marketing department’s success. Employing a data-driven approach enables you to unfold the true potential of your digital campaigns and optimize the ROI of marketing channels.
Furthermore, by delving deeper into the data, you can discover valuable insight into your customer’s preferences and consumer habits. You can input historical information and real-time market data into your tools and cross-reference it with data from other sources to build accurate predictive models that can help you make informed decisions.
Simply put, business intelligence can improve the overall performance of your marketing team and benefit all aspects of your marketing campaign:
- Better Customer Knowledge – Connect the dots between your customer’s demographics and their touchpoints with your campaign.
- Real-time Analytics – Recognize trends in customer behavior while they are happening and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Accurate Measurement – Track the effectiveness of different channels to evaluate and improve their performance.
- Informed Decisions – Base your tactics on rock-solid data to minimize the risk of mistakes and wrongly placed investments.
- Clearly Visualized Data – Structure the data from different sources to make it more comprehensible to non-tech users and management.
- Predictive Analytics – Build predictive models that allow you to foresee consumer behavior and design campaigns to respond to upcoming market trends.
- Optimize KPIs – Build dashboards with key performance indicators based on campaign objectives.
- Competitive Advantage – Have access to real-time and predictive analytics that can give your company a head start on the competition.
Many companies tend to question the effectiveness of their marketing department and are uncertain of whether the investment in digital channels is worth it.
Utilizing business intelligence tools and tactics allows marketers to focus on proven strategies, adjust course in real-time and back up their decisions with facts.
A data-driven approach to how you distribute your marketing budget and resources will allow you to optimize the performance and ROI of campaigns and run a transparent and efficient strategy.