While digital marketers have been changing strategies quickly over the past year to keep up with market demands, they aren’t fully leveraging data to do so. A recent study we commissioned with Incisiv found that among 200 digital marketing executives half indicated that they are not using data regularly to inform changes to their digital marketing strategies. This leads to “blind spots,” which are preventing marketers from attaining actionable insights. Three core factors are causing these blind spots: inability to integrate data, lack of timely insights, and limited pools of analytics talent.
The inability to integrate data from multiple sources was found to be the #1 challenge facing marketers. The #2 and #3 challenges of providing timely insights to the right person and the limitations of analytic talent speak to the limitation of actionable insights.
The velocity of change is accelerating
Marketers across industries are faced with similar challenges, however some are moving faster than others. Retailers and financial services firms analyze their other common KPIs higher than a weekly cadence. The ability to spot trends early stems from the foundation of having reliable and current data. For specific KPIs like e-commerce sales and website traffic, the data needs to be accessible as quickly as possible to allow marketers to react in almost real-time.
Retailers are significantly ahead of financial services firms when analyzing their digital marketing KPIs (8x more retailers analyze social media data weekly, 4x more retailers analyze eMail performance weekly). Still, less than half of retailers analyze most of their digital marketing KPIs weekly. Although retailers track and analyze data more frequently than financial services firms, they rate their insight capabilities (usefulness, timeliness, tools, support) lower and are blind sighted by data more often than financial services firms.
Automated business analysis spells success
Automated business analysis or ABA leverages artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to analyze data and find unexpected changes in your data quickly, acting as a virtual business analyst. It can find these insights immediately while reducing the dependency on data analysts and serve up those insights directly to the lines of business owners.
Even as the amount of data has grown from megabytes to petabytes, ABA platforms can automatically surface insights across huge amounts of data, reducing the amount of time required to take advantage of opportunities and fix problems.
Being able to quickly see when customer behaviors change can have a significant impact on your business. Business Intelligence tools are great for tracking data that you already know to track, like daily sales, but they don’t tell you about unexpected changes in that data. For example, by integrating e-commerce data with search data, an online footwear retailer discovered an out-of-season jump in interest for sandals. This abnormally high demand so early in the year would have gone unnoticed. After getting this insight from Outlier, the director of e-commerce launched a marketing campaign focused on the in-demand product. This quick pivot resulted in a 30% year-over-year sales increase.
Marketers have more data than ever before. It’s hard to track because the data lives in so many places. Marketers don’t even know what they don’t know. There’s just too much data. Maybe there’s hundreds of customer segments. It’s impossible for strapped marketing teams to identify emerging changes in behavior in a time frame that’s impactful to the business. Automated business analysis products work across myriad data sources, including cloud-based services or on-premise storage to perform analysis quickly.
Automated business analysis has proven to be an indispensable tool for many leading brands in the COVID era, enabling them to recognize and react to rapid market changes ahead of their competitors. For example, one retailer, a bath and beauty brand, using ABA meant they could quickly identify which bath and beauty products consumers were demanding as signs of the pandemic grew.
For another Outlier customer, time is of the essence as it is a retailer with seasonal products that expects to see similar year-over-year patterns when demand for certain products begin to increase. Surprisingly, the demand for a product category started to climb earlier in the year. With Outlier, our AI combed through all of the data and found the product demand spike. After being alert of the unexpected event, the retailer revamped a planned email marketing campaign and realized a 30% gain in sales, as compared to the previous year.
Outlier’s ABA is powered by complex artificial intelligence and data science, but your often-unexpected insights are packaged in simple stories that can be delivered in a daily email briefing. The path to action and the reasons for it are clear and easy to understand. You don’t have to know what questions to ask, Outlier discovers what you need to know and informs you immediately so you stay on top of it all. The ability for ABA platforms to analyze across your various data sources, spot the changes, and automatically deliver results plus what actions to take can mean all the difference between a successful marketing initiative or being two steps behind the competition.
If you are a data analyst supporting marketers, we’ve provided a toolkit with helpful insights and resources to explore and evaluate automated business analysis.
If you are a marketer, you can learn more here about how to get automated insights into customer experience and know what you need to do every day to maximize every customer touchpoint and the performance of your campaigns.