Marketing can be one of the most data-driven departments in a company, regardless of industry. That being said, not every marketing org is making the best use of the data at its disposal. A 2021 survey commissioned by Sisense and conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR) showed that 77% of respondents said democratizing data access was important to their business success.

But all the access in the world won’t move the needle if teams aren’t actually using the intelligence from analyzed data to drive the right action at the right place and time.

Enter actionable intelligence seamlessly infused into workflows: In the same HBR survey, 51% of those polled said users at their companies had to get the intelligence they needed from platforms outside their normal workflow.

An additional 18% had to not only exit their workflows, but make a formal request to the IT team! (That’s a relic from at least two BI generations ago.) In an IDC survey (also commissioned by Sisense), 61% of BI users said they were looking for ways to incorporate analytics into workflows.

HBR survey

A key mandate for CMOs is to drive analytics adoption across the marketing org. The evolution of BI and the self-service, data-democratized era we’re living in helped lay the groundwork, but only infusing analytics into workflows can take this to the next level. Marketing orgs that embrace this new paradigm will see their efforts bear fruit and their companies flourish.

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Starting at the top: Driving your marketing strategy with data

The CMO has many critical duties, but connecting with customers in creative ways is chief among them. It has become crucial that CMOs combine actionable intelligence derived from the massive amounts of historical marketing data, trends information, and other datasets with creativity to connect with customers.

McKinsey surveyed over 200 CMOs and senior marketing executives, and the results showed that, as you might think, marketers who combine data and creative thinking drive more growth than those who don’t. Integrating four or more insights (on average) when improving customer experiences drove better results versus the traditional approach of soloing analytics as distinct from the creative process.

CMOs, if you’re serious about driving change at your organization, infusing the right actionable intelligence into your own top-down leadership and your subordinates’ daily workflows is a must. Analytics aren’t just for quarterly business reviews or campaign postmortems. As you and your team pick your strategy for each month, quarter, and campaign, analytics and creative thinking must go hand in hand.

You’ve seen the earth-shaking changes ushered in by the COVID pandemic. Consumer practices have changed forever, and marketers (and every other profession) have had to adapt to keep up. There’s never been a better time to find the right analytics platform and infuse actionable intelligence into your workflows. The alternative, a future where decisions are driven by gut instinct instead of data, is grim.

Derive actionable marketing intelligence from multiple data sources

Now that we’ve established that intelligence derived from analyzing data is vital to success in the CMO role and to building creative campaigns, it’s time to delve into where that data comes from and how to get the most out of it. 

Simply put, customer data is everywhere. The rapid proliferation of countless social media platforms, chatbots, and voice searches means that savvy marketers have more insight than ever into what consumers are up to. But insight doesn’t equal intelligence, and it certainly doesn’t tell you what your next step should be. 

That’s where the right analytics platform, with built-in AI capabilities, is your path to actionable intelligence. AI is a key to large-scale understanding of textual data through natural language processing (NLP). With this powerful tool at your disposal, your CMO powers increase dramatically.

This functionality is seen as so valuable that a Sisense-commissioned IDC Internal Analytics Survey in 2020 saw 78% of business leaders report that they are already using AI in their BI tools. The rest plan to start using it in the near future, with 38% of users saying they’re looking for an NLP-equipped solution.

With a powerful AI-enhanced analytics platform infusing actionable intelligence into the workflows of your entire marketing org, you aren’t just making smarter, data-driven decisions — you’re evolving your entire marketing program.

You already have tons of data to help you track key performance indicators, calculating ROI on various campaigns, the success rates of ads and pieces of content, and more, but the right infused analytics will allow you to do more with your data without going back to IT or technical team members to help you.

Best of all, since the right data points are being presented to the right people at the right time and place, people don’t have to leave their workflows to access dashboards or graphs when making decisions. This is true organizational transformation.

Wizits: Building a data-driven marketing org

By this point, your head is probably filled with visions of how your teams can work smarter with data: coming up with more creative campaigns, streamlining decision-making, and cutting down time spent wrangling data to focus on what they’re best at. But what does this look like in real life?

Mobile-gaming company Wizits offers one vision of a place where the right analytics and BI platform completely evolved the business, resulting in 85% of important business decisions being made with intelligence derived from the platform. Initially, founder and CEO Yair Panet (who has a background in BI) was managing the previous BI tool, but it fell short of Wizits’ needs as its challenges grew.

Being able to derive actionable intelligence easily was key for Yair and his marketing manager; they needed a solution they could handle themselves without hiring additional headcount. With a robust data model built using data from their disparate datasets, they had a full-spectrum view into how their marketing efforts were performing in different parts of the world, as well as which games were more popular where. This combined view allows them to evolve their marketing and rollout efforts to replicate success stories from one region into others.

When you break down walls between departments, un-silo datasets, and empower nontechnical users with data, the opportunities for evolution are endless. Every CMO needs to be thinking about how they can help every team and user within their org do more with data.

Set your sights on a data-driven future

Ask any executive or line-of-business leader if their department is (or aspires to be) data-driven, and they’ll say “yes!” But what that could end up meaning is anyone’s guess. However, savvy CMOs understand that they need to put actionable intelligence, drawn from multiple data sources, infused directly into workflows across their department.

Just throwing some dashboards or reports at your teams and expecting that to translate into positive change isn’t going to work. To truly drive evolution across the marketing org, users of all skill levels need to be empowered to make better decisions by seeing the right insights at the right place and time, tied to the right actions. A better future is possible for marketing teams everywhere, with the right analytics platform backing them up.

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Ashley Kramer is Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Sisense and has over 15 years of experience scaling hypergrowth companies including Tableau, Alteryx, Amazon, Oracle, and NASA. She has a strong track record of transforming product and marketing organizations and effectively defining and delivering the end-to-end product strategy and vision. Ashley is passionate about data, analytics, AI, and machine learning.

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