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How Marketers Use Business Intelligence Intelligently
When it comes to deploying BI in marketing, best practices can light the path to "information nirvana."
Posted Dec 24, 2007
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Business intelligence users who want to improve their marketing performance through the use of the technology need to follow some specific steps in order to be successful, according to a new report from Aberdeen Group, Measuring Market Performance: The BI Roadmap to Nirvana. "Improvement of marketing performance, and specifically the ability to pinpoint the drivers and detractors for performance, is the holy grail of marketing organizations," said David Hatch, research director of Aberdeen's Business Intelligence Practice, in a written statement. "The ability to analyze performance across all activities and generate improved results defines the 'information nirvana' marketers are looking for. Traditionally, companies have taken a hit-or-miss or 'let's do what worked before' strategy toward developing and executing their marketing initiatives and campaigns. As the pressure to improve performance has increased and budgets have come under close scrutiny, organizations are now faced with finding new ways to make marketing activity more effective, efficient, and yield higher return." According to Hatch, most firms take a very "CRM-centric" view of marketing performance, but fail to address the measurement of strategic and product-oriented activities. Alignment between marketing and sales goals -- combined with an analysis of sales force effectiveness -- helps staffers in each of the two departments better understand customer needs, segmentation, and buying patterns. Aligning sales goals with marketing activities is one of the key steps to getting better results from BI data, according to Hatch. He said the disconnect between marketing and sales is common among the firms that Aberdeen interviewed. Another problem that some companies face, Hatch noted, is that they have yet to integrate a culture of analytical and statistical measurement into marketing activities. Beyond establishing the culture, it's also critical to know what to measure and what the expected standards are. By establishing marketing goals and key performance indicators at the beginning of a marketing initiative, managers can show top executives if a campaign is performing as expected. Such measures are critical to justify subsequent budget outlays and future campaigns.
Hatch also recommends that firms:
  • Improve the timeliness of marketing performance information. Sixty-one percent of best-in-class firms have closed the gap between actual business activity and availability of information. More timely access to this information provides a marketing advantage: a campaign's ability to quickly incorporate -- and adapt to -- customer response.
  • Elevate the role of marketing within the organization. More than one-third (36 percent) of best-in-class companies indicate that establishing marketing's value to the enterprise is a top element driving marketing performance management activity.


Related articles: Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Marketing Automation This has been the year of the end user in marketing automation. Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Business Intelligence As the market for business intelligence matures and users become more sophisticated, more companies are buying into BI. Feature: Mercurial Marketing Social networking sites have bloomed in the past year or so, but just how valuable are they to marketers and how can that value be leveraged? The Best Companies Do Better with BI Strong companies get more out of business intelligence than weaker ones do. Business Intelligence's Intelligent Leap Not every step toward a best-in-class BI deployment is going to be a smooth transition. Feature: The BI Tools Bonanza Simple BI tools have been developed over the past three years, quietly accelerating marketers' ability to see and hear. Viewpoint: 10 Ways to Improve Your Business Intelligence Friendly suggestions to help revitalize and maximize your company's BI strategy. SAP to Acquire Business Objects The friendly takeover folds new business intelligence capabilities into one of the leading enterprise software platforms; amidst differing opinions, rumors loom of a counteroffer from Oracle or IBM. Oracle Is Set to Purchase Hyperion The $3.3 billion acquisition would be Oracle's largest since Siebel, and continues Oracle's focus on BI while undermining rivals; more BI acquisitions are to come, according to analysts. IBM Acquires Cognos The $5 billion deal marks ongoing consolidation in the Tier One business intelligence market; a "significant change" in IBM's direction, one analyst notes. Cognos To Purchase Applix The $339 million acquisition is the latest example of the convergence of business intelligence and performance management. Cognos Brings BI to Excel The BI vendor adds search and analysis capabilities for business users of Excel; analysts say more vendors will follow. BI Tools Market Shows Continued Growth A study by IDC reveals that BI software is both popular and necessary; Business Objects and SAS continue to lead the field. The MDM Effect: Who Stands to Gain? Master data management solutions will improve business intelligence results; data governance best practices are still key. Editorial: You Drive Intelligence There's an unfortunate eagerness to view business intelligence as a business panacea. SAS Tops Gartner's BI Magic Quadrant The market will experience more growth; application and suite providers enhance their own offerings. Gartner Releases Its BI Magic Quadrant Business Objects, Cognos, Information Builders, and SAS Institute are setting the standards in BI. BI Will Be Pervasive Gartner analysts predict more business intelligence usage throughout enterprises, with increasing focus on seamless deployment into strategy and business processes. Bigger BI Budgets Are CIOs' Priority for '06 Gartner predicts strong growth for this rapidly expanding market, but not before companies start to look at BI as the means to strategic IT planning. Business Objects Leads the Pack in BI ROI An evaluation observes that standardization is growing as a trend, but that dashboards are driving BI adoption.
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