Companies turn to analytics, market research for better advertising

NOVEMBER 30, 2011 – Conducting market research on prospective demographics and analyzing that data can not only save money on misguided marketing strategies, it can help create better-informed, more targeted advertising.

IT Business reports that a supply chain management service provider, Ingram Micro Canada, was able to process the data it already had and determine exactly what its clients wanted in terms of services and marketing messages. IMC’s senior director of marketing, Jennifer Johnson, told the news source that the company has started listening more closely to its vendors’ opinions on marketing.

“We used to take one message to the entire database that we had,” Johnson explained to IT Business, adding that it was more of a “spray and pray approach.” Now, the company has started sorting through the statistics it has on sales by vendor, such as top revenue providers, top decliners and top advancers, and that has transformed the way the company reports on return on investment and how it applies that knowledge to its campaigns.

“We need to be tapping into business intelligence and data analytics tools to make sure we’re taking the right vendor’s message to the right resellers at the right time as much as possible,” she said.

As Julie Hunt writes for the SmartData Collective, having access to data, information, analytics and other types of content is vital in any industry, and that insight should also be shared across departments within organizations.

“Reliable, relevant information delivered at the right time impacts how strategies and goals are realized, how innovative a company can be, or even how long a company will be around,” Hunt says, adding that information is useless to the enterprise if it’s hidden away in a database or behind a firewall.

Hunt points to Vodafone as an example of a company that is employing analytics to improve every way that it services or interacts with customers, from sales to new offerings to marketing. By liberating the data from silos, the company has been able to achieve “effective product and business information,” she says.

However, recognizing how market research and business analytics can help an enterprise and actually implementing that information across operations are two very separate things. The author outlines a few best practices that can help a company turn insight into action.

Hunt notes that keeping the focus on using technology to serve people, improve processes and sharpen practices, and then directing those three groups to produce tangible results that will drive the business forward, will lead to greater results. Additionally, creating an open culture that encourages collaboration gives projects a better chance for success, as does ensuring that the people involved in the initiatives fully understand the data they are working with.