Friday, April 17, 2009

Numbers Do more then ever

Back in the old days a superior product, value chain, or marketing campaign could win you easy market share and profits. These days companies offer similar products and often share similar technology. Geography doesn't matter as much and technologies can be easily replicated. One of the last remaining vestiges of competitive advantage can come from a superior use and understanding of relevant company data: Business Intelligence.

Yes, this especially pertains to the world of marketing. Think of all of the new developments pertaining to marketing in the past decade. Whether it is running a series of online marketing campaigns or managing the efforts of a sales team the one common denominator is the increased presence of analytics. A recent quote in the American Marketing Association "Marketing News" magazine by Mike Linton, former CMO of eBay, underscores this point. "At its core, marketing is 70% math." Now I wouldn't quite go that far but you have to blind to realize that marketing is becoming more and more numbers driven.

Marketing needs to embrace numbers and math, and statistical analysis. It allows us to make smarter decisions and it gives us more ammo when we have to justify our marketing efforts to those curmudgeons in the Finance department. There are a whole host of tools that are now readily available and priced to fit most budgets. I have listed several in past entries so take a look.

The bottom line is that you need to measure and evaluate your efforts. You can start off by generating simple and straight forward reports. Eventually you can move to more sophisticated work that will allow you build models that will allow you to forecast the results of your efforts. This framework below was developed by SAS and was recently featured in the recent HBR book "Competing on Analytics". It does a masterful job of outlining the place and impact of most forms of analysis that most successful businesses employ today.

So take a closer look at your operations. Determine whether or not you have systems in place that allow you measure the performance of all facets of your organization. If you have any gaps or deficiencies than please bring in someone, like Lacuna, who can help you out. Marketing dollars are becoming more and more scarce. You absolutely, postively need to be able to analyze and exploit those actions that are generating the best returns.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Competitive Intelligence Case Study #1

Here is a recent example of a successful project that leveraged "competitive intelligence" to greatly enhance the sales and marketing efforts of a leading software company.