Consumer analytics is a process of exploration. To address a sticky business issue the analyst starts by examining the upper strata of the data — perhaps market share and standard dashboard metrics. These metrics reveal clues as to where to explore and what to analyse. Each analysis yields further clues taking the analyst along a drill down path to the answers she is looking for.
In addition to the understanding of the technology tools and platforms that support consumer analytics, this requires an understanding of the business, and deep appreciation of the discipline of marketing in that industry. Organizations that use consumer analytics for business decisions are therefore developing in-house capabilities, and augmenting these capabilities by partnering service providers that specialize in the field.
The service providers fall into a two-tier structure. The first tier comprises a host of companies that develop technology tools, platforms and related software. The second tier comprises a slew of companies skilled in the use of these technologies, and specialized in specific sectors. To succeed they need to know the business and market dynamics of their clients’ industry.
Needless to add that there is considerable shortage of talent and managerial competencies to exploit the full potential of analytics. Various studies suggest that only a small proportion of companies are using consumer analytics/big data for decision making purposes. Organizations that have made progress are also facing considerable challenges as they strive to derive insight from the variety and volume of the digital consumer data they have access to.
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