Monday, 12 September 2016

What Top Companies Know About Analytics (That You Don’t)

Having the right kind of insights available at the right time is crucial in today’s business. But some brands are taking analytics a step further by not only relying on it to make sound decisions when opportunities present themselves, but making it the absolute core of every impactful business decision.

And their analysis isn’t limited to one type of data. Rather, a study by Salesforce determined that top performers who made analytics their main focus looked at an average of 17 different kinds of data.

So what other things separate the top brands from under-achievers, and how can you make sure your own company is leveraging every possible facet of analytics to the fullest? Read on for all the details.

Analytics is Not a Magic Pill

First off, simply taking steps to understand your analytics and making solid decisions based on them is not going to instantly catapult you to the top of your industry. There are still many, many pain points strongly felt by executive decision-makers. There’s simply too much data coming in too fast, among other things:

analytics-pain-pointsThe Salesforce report details common issues with data and analytics

Fortunately, businesses on the cutting edge understand that having the right tools and technology to analyze the data they’re given is a smart strategy, which is why top performers have indicated increasing their analytics-related marketing spend by 50% over the next two years. It’s worth noting that they are over six times more likely to invest heavily in analytics tools, training and people than their more lackluster performing counterparts.

Analytics is the Fuel that Drives Exponential Growth

And what’s more, analytics is quickly becoming the de-facto driver behind a wide range of business decisions – well beyond the website:

analytics-effectAnalytics can be used well beyond improving a website

When analytics is used to improve procedures and processes across the board – from collaboration to developing new products and enhancing current ones, there’s virtually no limit to the company’s growth.

In addition, top performers are more likely to react in a timely manner based on the insights they receive from their analytics. They follow a predictable pattern of drawing details from all types of data, including (but not limited to):

  • Emails
  • Transactional information
  • Log files
  • Social media
  • Partner data
  • And much more

And many of these high-performing teams aren’t leaving mobile analytics out in the cold either. Although still in its infancy compared to broader analytical applications, mobile analytics adoption is growing just as quickly as mobile adoption itself, and companies who know how to put this data to work are out-maneuvering the competition. Top performing companies are 3.5x more likely to put this information to good use.

Creating an Analytics-Based Company Culture

Perhaps the biggest and most telling difference between top performing companies and their lagging counterparts isn’t just in how many different ways they use analytical data, or what data sources they pull from, but their entire approach to the concept of analytics as a whole.

The best performing teams have their entire executive team embracing the use of analytics as part of the company culture and not just a one-off thing managed by a handful of “marketing people”.

executive-buyinTop-level executives understand the need for analytics for everyone — not just a select few

But it’s no longer enough to have the support of the C-suite to make analytics work for the entire company. Because of their technical nature, analyzing the data can seem overwhelming and at times unpredictable. But by putting reliable information in the hands of every employee, even more insights, ideas and strategies can be discovered and implemented.

Democratizing the whole analytics process paves the way forward for a truly data-driven company. And as noted in the study, top performers are fifteen, yes, fifteen times more likely to collaborate with other members and roles within their organization to help better organize and glean important actionable strategies and concepts.

That one difference in itself is enough to separate the truly data-driven from those that are struggling to wrap their heads around this whole “analytics thing.”

Embracing New Technology (Even if It’s Still Not Proven)

Companies who stand to gain the most from analytics are also not averse to trying out new analytics tools. Both predictive (what will the user do based on their past behavior?) and prescriptive (what actions should we take based on the information we’ve gathered?) tools are included in the survey:


And of course, there are a lot of tools and technologies out there, including some that are just starting to tap into the potential of unstructured data – which is information that can’t be organized or neatly fit into the company’s pre-arranged data sets. This is where forward-thinking companies believe their customer behavior gold nuggets are to be found – which is why they’re not shy about testing the waters with emergent technologies.

They’ll either prove themselves in time, or they won’t – but how can you know if you don’t test?

So what really seals the deal for these companies when it comes to adopting new analytics technologies or solutions? How do they determine which choices are worth investigating and which might not be the best fit? As it turns out, their priority system looks like this:

A list of the must-have features top companies consider when evaluating analytics tools and technologies

Circling back around to the main points that differentiate them, top companies understandably want something that makes itself useful right from the start; something that employees and the more technologically-inclined can hit the ground running with. Something that lets them plunge right in and start making sense of the data they’re collecting. Bonus points if it’s mobile or cloud-based.

The Bottom Line in Becoming a Smarter Data-Driven Company

As you can see, it’s not just a matter of being able to “read the numbers” that drives top performing companies. It’s a full-on embrace and integration of everything analytics offers – from customer preferences to making processes and procedures more efficient. Analytics used in this way tends to have a ripple effect on companies – rather than being some kind of novelty that’s stacked away in a silo, it’s growing into its own as a formidable growth and revenue driver.

Not only that, but when done right, analytics drives the kind of collaboration that gets people thinking about continuous and measurable improvement. And all of these traits are what makes an industry top performer.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel like you have an analytics-centered culture at your company? Do you embrace new analytics technology or have a more cautious approach? Tell us your experience in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

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