Jun 16 2020 Courtney Danyel Blog Social Media Strategy Marketing Intelligence Platforms – Moving from “Nice-to-Have” to “Need-to-Have” The fundamental purpose of marketing intelligence involves analyzing all relevant internal and external data sources related to the marketing efforts and performance of a business and then using these insights to inform future strategic decisions. The majority of businesses track their marketing efforts using analytics tools and attribution strategies, yet few are tapping into the full breadth of insights marketing intelligence can provide. Marketing Intelligence Platforms have become essential Most marketers today still consider marketing intelligence to be an advanced tactic reserved only for enterprise businesses. However, while the technology may indeed be more sophisticated than most, it’s also quickly become an essential tool for just about any business that is looking to expose granular insights and boost ROI. Here’s why: Omnichannel marketing is a must There are undoubtedly more marketing channels than ever before. Aside from traditional offline channels, there are now numerous social engagement providers, advertising publishers, mobile analytics portals, and call tracking technologies, etc. There are also too many content formats to count and different device types to optimize for. Marketers need to reach audiences across numerous relevant channels with a consistent message to move them down the sales funnel. Businesses that adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy have 91% greater year-over-year retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. The only way to effectively market across various channels is by using sophisticated automation tools that offer deep insights into which channels perform the best. Competition is getting steeper The global economy has made competition online tougher than ever. A decade ago many businesses only competed with regional or national markets. Now they have competition from eCommerce and service companies across the world, including Europe, China, and other emerging economies. Today, it’s simply not enough to monitor local competitor tactics to inform your marketing decisions. You need to pay attention to the global landscape and adjust your strategy to earn your share of visibility online. This massive undertaking could easily become the full-time job of any data scientist. Marketing intelligence platforms offer an automated solution to optimize advertising efforts based on the latest market trends, including changes in competitor bid strategy and investment. There’s too much data With the exponential growth of marketing channels comes a significant increase in meaningful consumer data businesses can derive insights from. The sheer volume of data available to businesses now has grown exponentially throughout the past decade and a half. At the most basic level, there are relevant signals from every social platform, website behavioral data, search engine performance data, email engagement data, and more. Third-party platforms can also offer valuable audience behavioral insights around the web, helping marketers identify if they’re in-market or not. New technologies have also made it possible to monitor location-based data to give insights for brick-and-mortar businesses. Businesses that take full advantage of all the data at their disposal to inform their marketing strategy can outperform the competition even with a smaller budget. The more that businesses adopt this strategy, the more essential marketing intelligence platforms become. Marketing is more complex All the above factors combined make for a much more complex marketing scenario than five or 10 years ago. Increased data equals more potential insights, which is a good thing, but a great number of marketers don’t have the capacity or the tools to make it work for them. Meanwhile, higher competition and heightened consumer expectations relating to brand experience together mean that marketers must start taking advantage of relevant technologies to make it all happen. Utilizing the Right Marketing Intelligence Platform Here are some key features the most effective marketing intelligence platforms have: Data unification capabilities If your marketing intelligence platform is going to tap into the wealth of data available, it needs to have key functionalities that make it easy for you to collect, consolidate, and analyze it in one central location. This means integrating with all your marketing technology vendors and common data sources, while marketing landscape data and other relevant information from third-party tools should also be incorporated. Once aggregated, all data types should be standardized into a format that can be easily processed. A marketing intelligence platform should not only unify all relevant data but also perform quality control assessments. When relying on automated processes to make key marketing decisions, it’s important to know the technology can flag data quality issues just like a marketing manager would. Sophisticated Attribution Data analysis on a massive scale is only valuable if you can accurately and effectively attribute key audience behaviors back to the channels and content that moved them down the sales funnel. A marketing intelligence platform should be able to track and interpret the value of key behaviors like purchases, repeat purchases, app installs, and other factors that might have led people there. Marketing intelligence platforms should also have the flexibility to allow marketers to use whichever attribution model makes the most sense for their business, including first and last-touch, as well as multi-touch with a customized value attributed to different steps in the sales funnel. Actionable Insights There are many marketing analytics tools out there that can aggregate all your relevant data. However, they often leave it up to marketers themselves to run analyses and derive insights. A sophisticated marketing intelligence platform can utilize machine learning capabilities to provide some insights for you. This is really valuable because they can find correlations between seemingly unrelated data sets, unlocking actionable insights that would have otherwise gone undetected. Your technology should also have forecasting capabilities so you can predict future performance based on current data insights and trends from historical performance data. This way you can plan out your budget and expected returns to fit how things will actually play out each year. Intelligent Automation Processes Unified data analysis means gaining more relevant insights than ever before. These insights are only valuable, though, if they inform changes in your marketing strategy, not just when starting a new campaign, but also as micro-adjustments throughout it. That’s why a marketing intelligence platform with integrated automation capabilities is essential. Another key to unlocking the highest potential ROI from your data insights is real-time data analysis capabilities. Market landscape and performance data change daily – you should be able to discover key insights from the latest pertinent data, then automate adjustments in your campaign to quickly take advantage of new insights. Wrapping Up A few years ago marketing intelligence platforms seemed like an advanced option for the most sophisticated performance marketers. However, the wealth of data available today and the new competitive landscape have changed that entirely. If brick-and-mortar businesses don’t start taking full advantage of location data to drive their marketing strategy, their local competitors will. If a Europe-based eCommerce company doesn’t optimize its search ad bids to minimize necessary spend to reach its goals, competitors in Asia will. Now is the time for businesses of all shapes and sizes to seriously consider investing in a marketing intelligence platform. If they don’t, it will soon become impossible to keep up with competitors who are. The good news is, marketing intelligence is one investment that is sure to bring a huge return, as long as you choose and apply the right platform.