Anyone who compiles marketing performance results for the purpose of reporting or analysis understands the complexities that can exist. The reporting of marketing performance across marketing programs, disparate systems and companies that manage and store the data essential to understanding marketing results creates a need to aggregate multiple sources of data. This is a reality for advertising or public relations agencies, executives, marketers and consultants needing to understand the performance of marketing programs, identify meaningful data and ultimately take action. Historically speaking, many roadblocks exist when it comes to building marketing reporting solutions. Examples include:
- Performance data existing within many systems
- Limited connection points across data sets to create seamless reporting
- Constantly changing business needs with respect to reporting
- Lack of knowledge regarding the data buried deep within the various systems of a company
These issues more or less exist within most firms and present obstacles to tracking and reacting to the ebbs and flows of the marketplace. As an example, if your market research efforts allow for social listening and mapping the feedback from customers to their associated accounts within your company, then you are more advanced than many businesses. Only selected marketing technologies provide this type of connection between data captured or collected from their system and your internal data. However, going a step further, imagine an account-based marketing program. If this program were supported by a Social Analytics platform that was measuring input via social channels about your client’s products. And, your products and services enable your client’s products. Then an opportunity exists to map feedback about your client’s products from the marketplace to the features of your products. If done accurately and combined with traditional primary and secondary market research, this creates a powerful market research capability for brand managers, product managers and marketers alike. This could facilitate a better understanding of customer needs by account or by the channel from which they purchased. Today, the core elements of this functionality only exists within certain MarTech solutions. Alternatively, a Business Intelligence solution with data connections to these social channel data sets gives a company rapid access to the necessary data, paving the way for this type of analysis.
The Business Intelligence solution providers continue to add innovative features to their products to ease the ability for corporations to manage and report on their extensive data assets. However, these data resources continue to grow at an extraordinary rate. Hundreds of data sources exist to supply marketing, analytics and other marketing efforts with the required fuel to generate value in the form of brand awareness to revenue. Selected Business Intelligence solutions now have pre-built connections to the more commonly used data sources, such as CRM, Web Analytics, Advertising solutions and social channels. This combination provides significantly improved access to the mountains of data now available. Along these same lines, more pre-built integrations with various Core Operating Systems and MarTech solutions for the efficient exchange of data provides improved access to corporate data assets and creates better context for all analysis.
Once the data from these sources are manageable, the dramatically improved Visualizations are rather useful given the simplicity in building them as long as they lead to informative and actionable data analysis. This of course is a stepping stone to true analytics, defined not only as business analysis that enables further understanding of trends and opportunities, but also facilitates action or even makes the automation of action possible.
While hurdles still exist, today’s Business Intelligence is a much different animal than it was a decade or two ago. The core capabilities of Business Intelligence solutions have found their way into many individual applications often creating report overload. This is prevalent among the wealth of MarTech solutions due to the need and ability to measure marketing performance that is often as unique as the solution itself. However, there is risk of the previously mentioned issues. All of these changes have brought about more options for capturing, connecting and analyzing data in the world of Marketing Technology and performance, such as:
- Major enhancements to existing MarTech solutions, including Business Intelligence
- Information as a Service solutions
- Analytics as a Service offerings
- Companies and Consultancies specializing purely in Analytics and
- The use of Data Scientists
Lastly, the leading edge of the future holds even more transformation for the measurement of marketing performance. The data generated and derived from the Internet of Things (IoT) will be spawned from mundane equipment we all know well to the most unworldly of devices as industry and consumers take ahold of concepts based upon virtual reality.