Business analytics can be used in a number of ways to better a company, from hiring practices to streamlining workflow to customer targeting, and well beyond. In short, business analytics is collecting data to draw conclusions that can be acted upon to improve efficiency for a given part of a company. For marketers, the information gathered is a priceless tool to use when evaluating successful practices and enacting new ones. Here is a closer look.
A Brief History of Business Analytics
Archiving data dates all the way back to hieroglyphics, and the earliest known forms of numbers were created for analytic use. Until computers, sharing the archived material was a much stiffer task, but in the last 40-or-so years, the computer age has given way to a limitless means of collecting and sharing data. Data warehouses have been in existence since the 80s, and though successful for those who had the training to access the information, it wasn’t until Microsoft Excel came along that the ease-of-use for data collection and analysis reached a level that an Average Joe with a computer could easily accomplish.
Google analytics popped up in 2005 to analyze internet data, and since, revenue growth through business analytics went from a luxury to a necessity. In the 15 years since, the ease-of-use and breadth of knowledge gained by analytics has steadily increased to the point where data is one of the most expensive “materials” on the market.
Business Analytics for Marketers
- Campaign analysis – Analytics regarding marketing campaigns can be used at all steps in the campaign’s existence. Before a campaign, analytics (primarily those which are web-based) can determine who potential customers are, and what those customers want to hear. Once a campaign is created using that information, it can be monitored and real-time analytics can let marketers know if their campaign is reaching the target audience, and at what levels of success. Following a campaign, analytics can give a clear “what worked and what didn’t” perspective to be used in future campaigns.
- Competitor analysis – Analytics can also be used to determine what works and what doesn’t for competitors. This is especially useful for niche companies who can zero in on gaps in more large-scale competitors’ marketing practices and use that data to fill those gaps when cornering their niche market.
- Sales analysis – Revenue might be the easiest thing to analyze, gathering numbers and using them to determine what sales strategies have been successful, as well as determining regional and other demographics that can be tweaked to increase sales in given areas.
- Customer analysis – Though political campaigns don’t technically have customers, they are sure to fail without a stiff customer analysis. That’s why you see so many political ads on social media and television, as they campaign managers’ best tool is “customer” analysis to determine who the best people to reach are, regarding their vote. The same tactics can and should be used in the business sector to determine where to focus marketing strategies.
Bringing it All Together
As mentioned in the introduction, business analytics should be used in every aspect of every company, no matter the size of that company. They are priceless bits of information that can increase efficiency in any and all walks of business life, and those increases ultimately lead to the most important increase: revenue.
Even the most creative minds on a marketing team are borderline useless in today’s world without being able to properly gear their creative ideas to the correct target audiences. If your company’s marketing team has amazing ideas every day, but the wheels just aren’t turning, the issues almost certainly lie with a lack of understanding and utilization of business analytics.