On the Path to Competitive Advantage
I think you will all agree with me that the marketing landscape has never been more complex.
The ability to target, track and acquire customer data across multiple channels, touchpoints and devices has left us in a world where the breadth of data we can collect is ever-increasing. As the ability to store and manage vast quantities of transactional and behavioural data represents more and more of a challenge, so does the ability to derive actionable intelligence from it. But it is this actionable intelligence that creates your competitive advantage, by enhancing marketing programmes and improving the customer experience exponentially.
Knocking Down Those Internal Barriers
For many organisations one of the biggest challenges they face when it comes to customer analytics, is the internal barriers they come up against when acquiring the analytical capabilities they need. Without a clear vision and ownership at a senior level within your business to drive this forward, it is unlikely that the expertise and technology will be in place to realise your vision.
Even if your organisation has a clear vision, the time needed for organisations to change culturally and structurally can be lengthy. Knowledge and expertise must be acquired internally; new personnel must be recruited and Big Data and analytical solutions must be implemented. Either as a stop gap or as a long-term investment decision, it’s no wonder organisations look to outsource analytics.
Checklist: What Should Your Agency be Providing You?
Developing your customer analytics capabilities internally is always going to be a priority and we wholly encourage this. But with the relatively new focus on Predictive Analytics and potential lack of success internally, outsourcing to the right agency can put you on the right path.
So, if you do decide to outsource, what should your agency be providing you with? Well look no further, we’ve done the leg work for you – here’s your ultimate checklist:
1. A dedicated resource that is hard to find internally
Outsourcing undeniably relieves existing resource constraints, but it also provides a potentially much more economic option, allowing you to access a dedicated analyst on an ad hoc basis. And that’s ignoring additional, specialist software and technical infrastructure that might be required.
2. Vast and in-depth knowledge and expertise
Your agency should provide you with a wide range of expertise spanning across industries and insight projects – hopefully providing you with a completely fresh perspective. Even if this knowledge and expertise is acquired only in the short-term, it should create a strong foundation on which you can build.
3. The speed and flexibility you crave
Your agency will have the benefit of not getting caught up in internal distractions, which should speed your project up, with results based on realistic and defined deadlines.
It should also hand back the flexibility you need, enabling you to focus on where your current priorities are, instead of trying to do too much at once, potentially extending the life of a project and delaying delivery of insights.
4. Best practice at the centre of everything
Any reputable agency should provide you with an approach based on robust methodology, tried and tested techniques and focused on significant trends/indicators observed within your data.
5. A new and unbiased perspective
All insights generated from your data and recommendations should be free of internal politics.
Top tip: a clearly defined brief with questions and targets aligned to your business objectives will ensure that the analysis project delivers exactly what you need.
Getting Your Requirements Clear
If you are considering outsourcing your customer analytics, it is critical to ensure that your requirements are clear and the level of service and expertise needed is outlined. Analytics is a broad area, rapidly increasing in maturity, covering descriptive analytics, predictive modelling, prescriptive techniques and optimisation. Just because companies claim to do analytics doesn’t mean they actually offer a managed service tailored to your requirements – and they may not be up to speed with newer techniques like Predictive Analytics.
To summarise, what your agency should be providing you with is a customised, professional customer analytics service. This should equate to a combination of consultation time to define your requirements and the translation of insights into real action via multi-channel marketing.
What is really going to drive success for you is analytics that deliver a tangible business impact through increased revenue and significantly improved ROI. The best way to ensure you are going to get the service you deserve, is to ask agencies you are considering working with for evidence! No one should claim anything without having the evidence to back it up.