Being a Fellow student in marketing domain, Marketing Analytics has always remained an area of interest to me. Though, didn’t pursue a career in that field, I was introduced to this domain during my doctoral program and found it very useful for the marketers. Once, I joined the social media related work profile, I started realizing the need and extent to which Marketing Analytics could make a difference to the marketer. Also, recently was introduced to this article in Live Mint that talked about the increasing popularity of the job prospects in this domain.

Courtesy: FIIB website
Courtesy: FIIB website

Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB), Delhi organized a one day conference on Marketing Analytics and I decided to update myself with the latest happenings in this domain. The objective behind writing this blogpost is to summarize the takeaways I had during this seminar. The major attraction of the conference was the interesting lineup of speakers which included both academicians and industry professionals. This mix of speakers convinced me to register promptly for the conference. The conference comprised of two keynote talks, and two panel discussions. I am not going to summarize each session but will highlight what topics were discussed during the entire day.

Mr. Manish Kheterpal, the Chairman of FIIB began the proceedings by introducing the audience to some fun facts about the Marketing Analytics domain: a) US shutdown increased number of visits to restaurants, b) Use of videos on landing pages increased conversion by 80%, c) Narendra Modi’s rallies attracted 2-3 times more audience when a nominal fee of Rs. 10 charged. He set the tone for the day by sensitizing the audience about the importance that Marketing Analytics plays in a marketer’s life. He also talked about the major challenges that marketer’s faced – a) increasing engagement with stakeholders, b) protect marketing budgets and c) measurement of ROI for marketing spends.

The subsequent keynote speakers and panelists emphasized on following key areas: a) Need for Marketing Analytics, b) Challenges to collect data, c) Availability of tools & techniques to analyze data, d) Making informed decisions vs intuition in earlier days, e) Measuring ROI of Marketing Analytics efforts. I will briefly list down the pointers on each of these below:

a) Need for Marketing Analytics

– It is easy to capture the ‘said needs’ of  a customer, however it is becoming challenging to capture the ‘implied needs’ or ‘dynamic needs’, which are more important to a marketer in the hyper-competitive environment

– Analytics will help marketers improve their offerings, better target their customers, send out customized communication messages, in designing new product offerings and so on.

– Earlier customers were passive and refrained themselves from outpouring, but with the arrival of social media, people have started to share their genuine feedback about the product and / or brand and hence there lies huge amount of data that marketers could leverage to make informed decisions

– Today is a custoMEr generation, where customer demands lot of customized focus in terms of connecting, engaging and rewarding him/her.

– The business environment faces hyper-competition, commoditization is at the extreme, customers are flooded with information, higher customer attrition and shorter product cycles as customer have shorter horizons.

Marketing Analytics

b) Challenges to collect data

– Sophisticated computational facility is required to handle the high volume, high velocity and high variety data.

– Size of data sets are large as they are mostly in rich media formats

– Customers are willing to share even their private information, if brands assure them that the information would be solely used to customize offerings for them and not misused for any other purpose.

– In the absence of structured data, marketers should first make an effort to make sense of data is immediately available. Though it work require increased efforts to make sense of it, but its worth it.

– Marketers should not by myopic and focus only on real-time data but should focus on ‘near-time’ data, i.e. evaluate the campaign at the end of it rather than monitoring and making changes on a daily basis.

c) Availability of tools & techniques to analyze data

– Traditional tools and techniques are insufficient to handle the Big Data

– New statistical methods likes CART, Flexible regression, Functional Data Analysis etc. are emerging and individuals who plan to build a future in this domain should get introduced to these tools at the earliest

– Classical assumptions like ‘normality’ do not hold true in today’s Big Data environment.

– Start analyzing data with a business hypothesis.

d) Making informed decisions vs intuition in earlier days

– Focus on individual behaviour rather than aggregate numbers. Decisions need to be taken by keeping an individual customer in mind, rather than a segment of them in this customized demand seeking environment.

– Professionals should not get overboard with analytics but should also think of effectively using the analytics results for decision making

– Analytics itself cannot suggest decisions, hence the decision making would still hold crucial, however they would be better informed decisions than ever before and the onus lies on brand managers to make effective decisions.

 e) Measuring ROI of Marketing Analytics efforts

– Focus should be on the extent to which Marketing Analytics is helping marketers hold profitable customers, add and cultivate strategic customers.

– The impact of efforts and investments in Marketing  Analytics should be measured by the difference it brings to the overall business proposition.

Also, it was very well highlighted by many speakers during the day that Analytics should not be looked up on a silo activity within an organization and only marketing department be held responsible for it. Every department should contribute to the overall efforts and ensure that the insights that are derived from the analytics are flown back to respective departments for corrective measures and timely action. Hence, there shouldn’t be any further debate of who owns analytics, would it be CIO or CMO. A speaker went to cite an example that a MNC recruited a Chief Analytics Officer who was responsible for the analytics and every information in the organization was directed towards his team.

The entire conference could be summarized in this one venn diagram that one of the speakers shared. Marketing Analytics is not about silos of information architecture, information processing or business acumen, but all three have to be synergized to achieve Embeddedness and effective business results.

Marketing Analytics

It was a well spent day with lot of learning from experienced academicians and industry professionals. I must appreciate FIIB team for choosing good mix of speakers, superb venue and most importantly a weekend so that most of us could attend. I look forward to a sequel of this conference may be next year.

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