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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Future of Marketing: Where does Analytics fit in?




Open-minded creativity and imagination, good eye for compelling visual design and an engaging flair for showmanship, were some of the skills needed by CMO's and senior marketing executives to drive marketing strategies. Don't get me wrong, they still are. Unfortunately, even though these skills are still important in today's era, they are not enough to produce the desired results. Today more than ever, the right side (Creative) of the brain needs to make room for the left side (Logic). 

Since the beginning of time, marketers have been trying to get into the minds of their consumers. What is it that they really want? What drives them to purchase a product? What keeps them loyal? Intuition and experience are no longer enough to make the grade. In order to succeed, or even survive in our data-based world, all marketers need to become statistically literate and that is where Analytics plays a big part.

The shift in the paradigm of analytics playing a big part in the future of marketing is evident from Big Blue (IBM) spending $14 billion on acquisitions in the past five years. RedPill solutions a privately-held company in Singapore, that provides advanced customers analytics services to businesses in industries such as financial services, telecommunications, technology and hospitality, was one of the companies that was acquired by Big Blue in September 2009. Most recently in September 2011, they bought Canadian risk management analytics software developer Algorithimics, for $387 million. Big Blue Business Analytics and Optimization team has now more than 8000 consultants including 200 mathematicians with more than 500 patents and a network of analytics and solution centers. 

With the rapid infusion of technology in marketing, new skills need to be developed if companies are serious about competing for market leadership. Presently, most part of people's media consumption begins and ends with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, accurately capitalizing on these sites has been a tricky business. Marketing executives are generally unimpressed with the ROI on internet marketing. Then there's also the question of what 'content' even means anymore as the format of the internet itself blurs the realm between the written word and video. The future may lie in the development of savvier analytical and metric tools and a more consistent format for content. However, will it be consumer driven and will the top sites today be dusty digital relics of tomorrow? How will marketing look like 10 years from now?

The answer to these questions lie in the accuracy of metrics and analysis. The internet has been overly used by people for various reasons. Specifically how we use it can be particularly useful information for marketers. What people do while they're visiting a web page, is extremely important for a marketer to know. In order for them to effectively place ads, marketers need to know how much time people spend looking at a particular web page, and the actions they take while they do so. Do they click on videos more often than text? Do they send links to their friends? How many times do they return in a given period of time, and what content is attracting them?  

In order to excel, I feel that marketers need to develop their analytical pattern recognition and systems thinking.

Analytical Pattern Recognition
Marketers are constantly flooded with information; web analytics, behavioral profiles, industry aggregates, social community feedback etc. Organizing the flow of data is a good skill, as is proficiency with tools such as Excel and Google Analytics. However, the real skill is to have the ability to look beyond the numbers to see the underlying patterns and trends - to coax out explanation and ideas from the endless sea of bits. This is data analysis, but as intuitive as it is analytical. Actional, data-driven insights, coupled by lucid visualization, will be invaluable as will the people who can deliver them.  

Systems Thinking
Marketing can no longer be managed in silos. Tactics in one area can impact the effectiveness of others almost immediately. Social media has accelerated cross-channel effects and blended channels and partners with independent communities into a completely new, living ecosystem. The key is to engage it properly by grasping the developing relationships between the different moving parts, their positive and negative interaction and optimize it for it to be a powerful force multiplier.

The original skills of marketing are still significant, but now they must be modified for a digital world that is rapidly changing. I believe that the right side (Creative) of the brain and the left side (Logic) can peacefully coexist.


I will leave you with a video to demonstrate how fast technology is changing and where we are in today's digital era. GO ANALYTICS!!!

5 comments:

  1. Great article on Analytics ..... analytics has been around for a long time. The world is beginning to harness the use of Analytics recently. Big blue has been a player in Analytics for awhile but nothing compared to SAS who has been around for 35 years.

    "There are three kind of lies, damned lies, and statistics" Mark Twain

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree with you, even though Big Blue has been a player for a while, SAS are the ones that have the most experience in this field.

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