By 2015, the global big data and analytics market is expected to reach $125 billion, with visual data discovery set to grow 2.5 times faster than the rest of the market. Visual analytics, an important component of self-service business intelligence, will become a requirement for every organisation and department.

As data becomes the next frontier for innovation, marketers need to harness its strategic value. Brands require fast, easy and accessible insight into their data to inform campaigns, drive efficiency and stay ahead of the competition. To this end, the role self-service data analytics plays in the marketing environment has become more important than ever.

Analytics makes the modern day marketer smarter

The role of marketers today is radically different from the job scope of their predecessors. They are expected to not only build the brand and spread awareness of their products, but also to justify all marketing expenses and drive sales.

Thankfully, access to a wealth of pertinent data at the click of a button means marketers are better informed, and no longer need to rely on their instinct alone to inform their marketing strategy. This means better, faster results as data-driven decisions can enhance a good marketer’s judgement and be made with greater confidence.

Analytics solves real-world problems

Data analytics can be used within marketing to monitor campaigns and identify problem areas, track conversation rates, and follow the leads all the way to engagement by sales.

Take Shopitize for example. Shoptize is a direct-to-consumer mobile promotional platform that delivers targeted offers and brand engagements directly to smartphones based on real-time data on shopping behaviour. Using data analytics software, Shopitize have harnessed the value of this data to derive actionable intelligence into consumers’ shopping baskets. As a result, leading brand partners, such as Kelloggs and United Biscuits, are able to create retailer-agnostic mobile marketing promotions for shoppers, and better shape the future strategy of their brands.

Getting started on the analytics journey

The best way for brands to embark on their data analytics journey is to simply stop procrastinating. It’s not about having the perfect database or dataset. Marketers should begin by working with the data that they have access to. Nothing begets success like success, and initial achievements will encourage further exploration.

Sharing data across the organisation is key

Once sharing data across the organisation has begun, it is vital to gain more insight. Today, many organisations have silos of useful data locked up within spreadsheets and databases across multiple departments, representing a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage. However, a common scenario, particularly within larger organisations, is that it’s difficult to get access to this information.

To combat this, CMOs have to be willing to proactively share the data as they have it. This may entail partnering with the head of regional sales, the regional finance director, or sales team. Demonstrating how past collaboration has led to greater success is the best way to get other departments within the business on board. It’s about illustrating how the business as a whole stands to benefit from access to additional data, and that allowing people access to the data that’s pertinent to their daily job can bring huge gains.

Make your data visual

To enhance the analytics journey, marketers should make their data visual. The human brain is wired to process information visually, and we are much faster at spotting trends and identifying correlations or outliers when we can actually see visual representations of data.

Brands should look for an analytics solution that makes visualisations simple to format and insight easy to absorb, whether it’s through a map capturing geographic information, height variations within a bar chart or a trend line aggregating millions of data points.

Remember analytics is a journey, not a destination

Finally, it’s important for marketers to recognise that analytics is not a destination, but a journey. In today’s crowded landscape, getting quick access to data and the self-service tools to analyse it is the starting point, while continuous exploration is the key to a successful voyage.

Elissa Fink

Elissa Fink


Elissa Fink, Chief Marketing Officer, Tableau Software