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Without a doubt, data and analytics have become central to every organization's business strategy.

In his book Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, Tom Davenport claims that to be successful, a company needs to have strong analytics. He posits that those who are competitive in their analytics approach use data and analysis capabilities to discern what customers want, how much they're willing to pay, and what keeps them loyal.

He goes so far as to prescribe key steps for becoming an analytics competitor: have a champion at the top, create a single analytics initiative, establish an analytics culture, hire the right people, and use the right technology.

Davenport's advice is good. The challenge is how to implement it.

How do you effectively analyze the ever-growing amount of data? Between 2015 and 2020, the number of data sources analyzed will jump 83%, bringing the overall 10-year growth total to 120%, according to the 2015 Salesforce State of Analytics study.

No company can boil the ocean. Therefore, to be successful, it will be critical that you look at your Marketing data and performance analytics through the lens of how to serve a business purpose.

When you review the journey of analytics, you can see that it's always been about making business decisions based on fact and insight that's based on data (see chart). Yet, according to CMOsurvey.org, less than one-third of business initiatives use marketing analytics.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM