Fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars a year on marketing alone. Although small businesses devote fewer dollars to market their products and services, to be successful they can expect to spend more than five percent of their capital on marketing. In fact, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is reported in Hartford Business as advising small business owners with less than five million in annual revenues to set aside seven to eight percent of their budget for marketing. Yet, just spending money is not enough. Marketing dollars have to be allocated in the right areas. Without robust big data analytics,achieving this could prove nearly impossible.
Customer data analytics measure items like customer satisfaction (i.e. how pleased customers are with new products and services), website engagement, social media page traffic, the path new customers generally follow before they make a purchase and the number of times customers see products and services before they start the checkout process. Customer surveys, databases, demographic measurements, census reports, inventory metrics, cloud computing, detailed graphs, charts and intuitive dashboards are types of tools companies can use to develop marketing intelligence analytics that are customized for their specific industry.
With this suite of products, small business owners can gain better insight into the key drivers that most influence consumers, causing shoppers to buy their particular products or services. A small business that plans on operating for several years or longer could use analytics in marketing to remove the guesswork out of product development, advertising plans and social media engagement efforts. In other words, marketing intelligence analytics could prevent small businesses from hiring workers, dedicating hundreds of hours each week to complete social media, website marketing, direct mail, cold calling, catalog and newsletter creation, etc. projects only to discover that the effort (not to mention the time and payroll costs) aren’t worth it.
More businesses are getting the point, seeing the value in developing and monitoring big data.In the Forbes’ May 18, 2012 “Using Marketing Analytics, I Do, Therefore I Think” article it’s reported that businesses responding to a CMO Survey planned to, “expect to increase the marketing analytics portion of their marketing budgets by 60% from 5.7% to 9.1% in the next three years.”
Furthermore, the numbers of companies using the analytics to make senior level business decisions may also be increasing, with business-to-customer companies incorporating analytics in their decision making processes most. Some companies are even developing analytics to discover how metrics, alone, are influencing their way members of their sales team, as well as customers, respond to their growth initiatives. For example, companies may use analytics to measure how a competitor’s advertising or marketing splash impacted their latest marketing drive.
Although customer data analytics and marketing intelligence will not replace sound business judgment and decision making, it can build a picture that clearly shows business leaders how well their current marketing efforts are performing. It could also help business leaders to know which products and services to continue, areas to focus more advertising dollars on and if improved customer engagement is needed to keep their companies moving forward.