Welcome, my name is Fred Chapman, director of relationship marketing segment management here at Unica. First things first, let’s give a big ‘thanks’ to B.J. Morgan on his B2B marketing blog from last month. Thanks B.J.!
Marketers really have it tough. We navigate from spreadsheet to spreadsheet, sift through a bunch of standard reports and wait maybe days or weeks to request and receive critical data about customers. We start out with a simple hunch about why sales have spiked recently. Although a spike in sales is a good thing, many marketers need to know much more. Questions like: What region performed best? What customer segments drove this spike? Did existing customers buy more or did new customers drive this spike in sales? Are specific products driving new sales or did a set of sales channels contribute more that their historic fair share? Importantly, what marketing programs over and under performed? Typically questions like these go unanswered en mass, not because they aren’t asked, but because many marketers lack the right tools to efficiently drill down on customer behavior. The result is subtle but cumulatively quite debilitating to all of us marketers.
A couple of months ago I presented a webcast with the American Marketing Association titled “Effective Marketing on Your Terms and On Your Time” focused on visualizing the key steps during the marketing experience.
3. Design & Produce
Over two thirds of the participants considered themselves Business Marketers, a catch-all phrase describing marketers that manage products, brands, markets, segments or oversee marketing demand programs. Of this group, only 7% had access to a formal customer analytics system for marketing enabling quick exploration and reporting. The others relied on delayed mainframe extracts, arduous IT customer reports, too detailed data mining output and limited standard SQL access to customer data.
This webcast and other venues of gathering market data confirmed my perception that most marketers simply don’t have the information they need to systemically make the right decisions in the timeframes these decisions need to be made.
So there is a gap in the marketer’s workbench! This isn’t the most revealing discovery to date, but it is an important realization that marketers are starting to solve. Marketers are now looking at customer analytics solutions with flexible visualization allowing easy drag and drop segmentation and analysis. Now critical questions become quick and easy answers allowing marketers to drill interactively through a line of thinking and get to bottom line causes tied directly to marketing performance. This series will cover some of the best practices found today as marketers seek important customer insights. We will explore traditional methods of customer analysis and introduce the latest visualization techniques.
The next post will begin with step one of marketing; ANALYZE.
Please send me your post and tell us about your approach to customer analytics and how you solve this age old dilemma? What tools are you using and how many times have you simply avoided asking a question because you knew the answer simply wasn’t available in your existing marketing infrastructure?