Today, marketers have access to more customer data than ever before, from demographic and socioeconomic data to information about customers’ preferences, purchase histories and spending behaviour. In fact, many marketers now have access to more than they can comfortably handle.

Furthermore, the advantages of harnessing all of that data continue to grow. For example, marketers can mine vast volumes of data to target brand campaigns more effectively, gain real-time insight into customers and influence behaviour at the point of sale.

While there is still room for intuition driven decision making in an ultra-competitive landscape, it’s essential for organisations of all sizes to adopt a data driven culture. Every corner of today’s marketing world can and should leverage the value data can bring to businesses. Marketers must use it as a tool to inform insights and smart decision-making. Fortunately, access to and understanding of data is growing thanks to a new breed of easy to use software and services. By following three simple steps businesses can put the power of data directly into the hands of employees and empower them to make smart brand decisions.

Keep It Simple

When implementing data analytics software, it is important to keep the data and the software accessible for everyone. In this respect, self-service data analytics are fuelling a democratisation process. By adopting easy-to-use software, businesses can empower marketers across all levels of an organisation with the ability to quickly drill down to specific details.  Marketers can then make day-to-day decisions based on information garnered from analysis, without reliance on data scientists within the business or requiring deep knowledge of things such as databases, SQL or Hadoop.

Keeping it simple also helps to encourage adoption of new tools across the business. When employees can easily access data to show that things like trends, progress and outliers, they’ll be more likely to embrace it as part of their everyday routine and decision-making process.

Harness the Power of Visualisation

With visual analytics, marketers can more easily see and understand their data. Indeed, research shows that people can interpret visual information about 60,000 times faster than text (2012, Billion dollar graphics, The Power of Visual Communication). Accordingly, the ability to visualise data in charts and diagrams as opposed to having to scan through multiple lines of numbers not only saves time, but also allows marketers to interact with their data to discover answers that would otherwise be hidden. They can drag and drop variables that create instant visualisations without a single line of code, or a Ph.D. in statistics. This stimulates thought processes, allowing marketers to ask different questions as well as find their own answers.

See and Predict Trends

A strong analytics tool paired with the right set of data can help brands see the tell-tale signs of an emerging trend. With data visualisations, marketers can pinpoint new trends, even microtrends, over time. Armed with these insights, brands can make better decisions about the direction they want to take, and gain greater insight for future campaigns, as well as more accurately predict what’s going to happen next.

This applies retrospectively too, as marketing departments can predict trends by using analytics software to visualise historical data. Customer purchase history, loyalty surveys or even demographical or geographical statistics can be tapped on for this purpose.

For example, retailers can use data analytics to combine information about the weather with data around customer buying behaviour. Tesco recently did this to prepare for customers buying barbecues on warm weekends. With this insight, the retailer ensured that barbecue food products and equipment were well stocked in their stores during summer and warm spring days. A perfect example of capitalising on data analytics to enhance customer loyalty and drive business impact.

Elissa Fink

Elissa Fink


Elissa Fink, Chief Marketing Officer, Tableau Software