Data analytics – the use of data to understand various components of an organization’s effectiveness – is a tremendous part of any company’s engagement in advertising and sales. Businesses use data analytics to inform better decision making, whether such decisions lead directly to additional revenue, more efficient customer-service responses, targeted marketing campaigns or niche product ideas. The generation of data can help in all of these areas and more; its broad and powerful reach is why many professionals now use the term “big data”.
Whether your interest is primarily in marketing, sales or e-commerce, data analytics can be used to provide highly useful insights.
Data Analytics and Marketing
For marketing professionals, analyzing data provides the knowledge necessary to figure out which marketing strategies are most effective for specific groups of consumers. Whether understanding how various demographics respond to different forms of advertising or using customer analytics to chart how product desirability depends on context and environment, big data grants marketing professionals the information they need to create the most efficient campaigns possible.
In a key study by SpencerStuart, it was noted that 58% of Chief Marketing Officers single out areas like search engine optimization as being clear beneficiaries of advancements in data analytics. The more information CMOs have about consumers and how they tend to see information on the internet, the more they can target their marketing strategies in ways that increase the likelihood advertisements will be viewed. Taking this point further, it is now possible to see the degree to which individual forms of advertising – search-engine advertisements, email newsletters, banner ads, etc. – generate clicks and eventually sales of a company’s products.
Data Analytics and Sales
Closely tied to the ways data analytics are being used for marketing is how they are being used in sales. Again, the key takeaway is that data provides insight: Insight into pricing strategies, customer responsiveness, public engagement with the brand, sales lead quality, win rates and loyalty to products over time. The full possibilities of data analytics are not fully tapped; every day, sales professionals are finding new ways to encourage purchases by combing through the vast troves of customer information provided by big data.
Data analytics can, for instance, show how long it takes for deals to close with specific groups of customers. It might also show specific types of deals and sales campaigns generating higher-than-average closing rates. While a big deal will always grab headlines and spark executive interest, strong data analysis can help the myriad smaller deals move more efficiently to completion, greatly affecting a company’s bottom line.
When a sales cycle succeeds, it leaves behind a trail of analytical evidence as to why. Understanding that evidence is what allows managers to dive into these moments and apply winning strategies to their current and future campaigns.
Data Analytics and E-commerce
As with marketing and sales, the vast amount of quantitative information provided by big data can be a tremendous boon to understanding how customers shop online. Analyzing it can show, for example, which devices consumers tend to most use for their online shopping and whether their time on these devices is spent in company apps or web browsers.
Particularly important in recent years is how companies generate sales through mobile devices; the better a seller understands mobile shopping, the more they can create compelling, positive experiences that further increase the likelihood of additional sales revenue.
Big data is also a significant source of information on how consumers use social media to interact with businesses. One company might, for example, discover that a large percentage of its web traffic is generated through Facebook links and decide to further emphasize its presence there. Data analytics can even show which products are most popular on specific social networks through link referrals. If a manager is looking for a particular type of social media insight, chances are good data supporting that insight exists – he or she simply needs to know how to find it.
The business applications of data analytics are endless. It’s quite remarkable to consider that even with the tremendous amounts of information already available, this field will only continue to grow. Professionals in marketing and sales – particularly those pursuing online customer engagement through mobile devices and social media – are just beginning to see what a thorough understanding of relevant data can do.