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The best digital marketing strategies are based on in-depth knowledge about a company’s customers.
Data is the backbone of most modern digital marketing efforts. The tools that most marketers use reflect this. Almost every marketing department works with some kind of web analytics program, performs A/B tests and relies on the advanced targeting options that most web advertising platforms provide.
Business intelligence is a company-wide process that helps companies collect and analyze massive amounts of data — potentially beyond the information marketers already collect from analytics tools. This information can be essential for those who want to build the most effective digital strategy possible.
Here is why business intelligence matters to digital marketing. Plus, how you can use various tools and techniques to conduct amazing campaigns.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence (BI) is the collection and use of business-related data and analytics to help companies make decisions.
BI is a broad term and is usually used to cover a few different processes. Large-scale data mining and preparation, reporting, performance tracking, statistical analysis and data visualization can all fall under the BI umbrella.
Often, specialized BI tools and platforms help businesses manage a few of these different steps — platforms from larger companies may handle all of them.
An all-in-one BI platform may collect massive amounts of data, store it in a way that’s available to employees company-wide, and help staff with backgrounds in data science or statistics analyze the information to derive insights.
Many platforms will also include visualization tools that help employees draw connections between data sets and show off what they’ve found in a digestible way.
Cutting-edge BI platforms typically also come with advanced features. Microsoft’s Power BI, for example, includes artificial intelligence-based natural language processing. This feature allows team members without technical backgrounds to ask a question in plain language and get an answer quickly.
BI platforms can also make sure critical business data isn’t siloed off and is available to employees across the company. These platforms also typically include useful visualization tools. Team members can use the information a company collects to make better, more informed decisions.
Why Is BI so Important for Digital Marketing?
Business intelligence is one of the best ways to know your customers — their preferences, their needs and who they are. Social media platforms provide significant amounts of data in the form of statistics on engagement and interactions with your brand’s content.
Advanced analytics techniques are only possible with the amount of information BI platforms collect. For example, sentiment analysis, which can help you gauge how your customers are feeling over time.
More specialized BI tools can provide other features. Business mapping software, for example, can help you understand your market based on customer location. This allows you to tailor location-based campaigns to the areas that are most likely to respond well.
Adopting BI tools can also help avoid some of the reporting errors. These can happen when you’re coordinating data collection manually. One British digital marketing agency, for example, was able to save more than £156,000 (around $192,600) by adopting a BI tool.
The tool was also able to help the agency process and analyze a growing volume of data it was struggling to manage with its original analytics tools.
Applying BI to Social Media Marketing
Many social media platforms offer analytics tools that allow you to uncover insights about your advertising campaigns. They can also help you better understand your audience and target them more effectively.
This data can be extremely valuable — but you can go further than the information these platforms offer with add social media monitoring tools.
These advanced BI tools can also let your team access cutting-edge analytics techniques that social media platforms don’t offer. This includes predictive analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to predict future customer behavior. They can forecast sales and provide extra insight into the effectiveness of a potential marketing campaign.
BI tools that can monitor social media data also enable real-time analytics strategies that take advantage of information as it’s collected. With a real-time analytics tool or platform in place, you and your team can have a window into how customers are feeling or responding to your campaign at any given moment.
This allows you to adjust your marketing approach accordingly. These tools are valuable right now because data can become quickly outdated as trends change and customer moods shift.
More importantly, integrating social media and digital marketing stats with other company data sets can help you coordinate market research and business model development company-wide.
Your department may have uncovered insights about your company’s customer base that other teams just don’t know about. Improving transparency and availability can help extend your analysis to other departments.
Applying BI to Web Design and E-commerce
Web design is a key component of most digital marketing campaigns — even the best ads won’t be effective if the landing page they funnel customers to isn’t effectively designed.
You can use analytics information from BI platforms to inform your web design. With the right analytics tool, you can analyze data like bounce rate, shopping patterns and traffic sources to boost campaign conversions. You can identify which elements of ad campaigns are working well and which may need to be improved.
Choosing the Right BI Tools for Your Strategy
There are a few techniques you can use to pick the right BI tools or platforms for your company’s digital marketing strategy.
Know the common features and pick a few must-haves. Many BI tools — like Microsoft’s Power BI and IBM’s Cognos Analytics — are all-in-one-solutions designed for enterprise use. These platforms often come with high-tech features but may not support what your team needs most.
If you want a breakdown of available solutions, there are a few comparisons on the internet. Most, like Gartner’s BI platform review aggregator, will offer valuable information about the most popular platforms and the features they provide.
You should also consider integration with existing systems. Some BI tools will work better with web and social media analytics platforms — like Google Analytics or Facebook’s analytics tools — than others.
You may also have existing data-collection and analytics tools. If you don’t want to replace them, look for BI solutions that will integrate with the software and tools you or your team are already familiar with. The vendors of the items you already work with may be able to help you source compatible BI tech.
There may not be one out-of-the-box solution that will work for your team’s needs. In this case, you can meet with your IT department or available technical staff and identify a few different solutions you may be able to use together. You can also get in touch with a business development team. It can help put together a tailored solution with the features you need.
In Summary: Using Business Intelligence to Boost Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Having in-depth knowledge about your customers can help any team boost its digital marketing strategy. BI tools make it easy to collect, store and analyze huge amounts of data. They gather data from sources like web and social media analytics platforms.
The insights these platforms can provide can be a great way to deepen your understanding of your customers. This also helps to create campaigns that target them more effectively.
If you want to start using BI in your marketing strategy, you’ll need to pick the right tool for your particular needs. Not every BI platform has the data collection and analysis features your team may require.