Almost all businesses today are digital businesses. Many operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In such an environment, knowing and understanding your customer is more important than ever.

Marketing comprises up to 50 per cent of enterprise value, and up to 85 per cent market capitalisation of intangible assets, according to Bruce H. Rogers, Chief Insights Officer at Forbes.

Richard Ng, Marketing Director, APAC of Tableau, tells Which-50 that most of the data it is extracting now has previously not been considered — and its generation is outpacing our ability to use it.

“We don’t even know how to ask the right questions,” he said. “Somehow, we’ve got to get smarter about our approaches and our development of the skill sets needed to capitalise on data analytics.”

Reimagining data and analytics requires a completely different approach. ‘Softer’ creative skills must partner with more traditional analyst roles.

“Tomorrow’s successful marketers will be those who can cross domains and who can bring longitudinal and latitudinal perspectives to presented data and business decision-making,” says Ng.

Kriti Colless, Principal Consultant at TransformationWRX and CMO of Umano, tells Which-50 that today’s marketers are required to specialise in a narrow field — be it EDM, list development or analytics.

Though the market is inundated with tools to help achieve this, customer data doesn’t always permeate every level of a business or company.

“At a certain level of the business case, marketers will have access to data,” she says. “But at senior levels, marketing is still based on instinct and experience.”

Colless says data is important, but that it should still be triangulated through other sources beyond just data — whether investors, the Board, the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CIO and CTO) or other influences like offshore experts and analysts, and what is happening in other markets.

Brent Lupton, CEO of Traffica, tells Which-50 that the amount of readily available data for understanding customer interaction is huge, and trying to understand it all is like drinking from a firehose.

“Marketers are not expected to be data analysts,” he says. “Marketers need the right resources or partners to understand customer data and deliver actionable insights, so they can focus on delivering marketing outcomes.”

Lupton says the key to data-driven marketing starts with getting the fundamentals right.

Analytics are key to the data-capture process. Having analytics well configured and structured is the foundation for data analysis and extracting actionable insights.

Richard Ng, Marketing Director, APAC of Tableau

Tableau’s Ng told Which-50 that fragmented marketing data prevents business from gaining a view of its target customer and achieving cross-channel consistency. However, real-time, integrated data — when analysed and visualised — can help drive rich interactions with customers every day and support more top-line revenue.

“Data can help marketers measure changes to customer engagement through areas such as customer experience, interaction, advocacy and outcomes,” he said.

This includes visualising trends using metrics such as customer satisfaction and call resolution, gaining insight into how often a customer visits your web site, calls or attends events, as well as social behaviour, testimonials or net promoter scores, the number and value of deals closed or repeat engagements.

“If the data is sufficiently robust, it becomes pretty easy to work out whether your strategies are working, where you are most successful and where the business may need to improve,” he said. “However, in this era, where we’re learning to trust the data, what’s critical is a workforce with a diversity of experience and skills.”

The real challenge for marketers around data and technology is to be as effective as possible in determining how data and different technologies can add real value to marketing efforts.

Success in all marketing programs relies on an integrated customer analytics strategy that puts quality data and its resulting insights in the hands of decision-makers.

“Under-utilising data may leave customer experience failing to achieve your desired outcomes,” he said.

“With the volume of data and technology options at our disposal today, there’s a real trap where you can get so wrapped up in data analysis, or so deep in the features and functionality weeds of marketing systems and tools, that you actually take time away from a relentless focus on delivering value to the business by whichever metric is most important — be that leads, orders, or new sales, for example.”

Past tools have biased the data because of the way it was structured by trying to facilitate ’what are we trying to answer’ type questions.

“We are quickly moving into the realm of not only algorithm-based decision-making, but needing to become comfortable with trusting the algorithms and smart analytics to help ask the right questions and optimise the marketing spend,” said Ng.

“Tableau helps marketers see and understand data through easy to use self-service dashboard analytics visualisation which combines your data, enables intuitive marketing analytics, and reports on and shares what matters most, in real time. By way of example, our Tableau Prep solution makes data prep approachable through a flexible, visual and direct experience that provides immediate results. No need to code or create scripts. It’s about empowering more people to complete their own data prep tasks.”

If you’re in the workforce today and feeling off guard, there is a massive quantity of great data expert content freely available online from open-source platforms.

Universities are also responding to the need to broaden the capabilities available to business. Tableau recently partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to launch a hands-on course in business analytics and data visualisation. The partnership aims to narrow the gap when it comes to data skills among Australian graduates and the ever-increasing requirement for data-driven decision-making.

“At the same time, instilling a culture of continuous learning can help develop and retain data expertise within a company,” they said. “This could involve engaging with marketers outside of your specific industry or your own company so you can gain a fresh perspective.

“There’s no reason, except complacency, stopping marketers from working out how to use the latest tools to effect.”

Visit Tableau to learn how to see and understand data in order to make better decisions, act with confidence, and demonstrate their impact

About the author

Claire Connelly is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Tableau is a member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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