By Lucy Boyle

Data-driven marketing (DDM) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a form of marketing where executive decisions are made based on big data derived from the latest business intelligence and analytic tools. Data in the workplace continues to grow. A 2016 statistic revealed that 80% of marketers believed that data is absolutely essential for the successful deployment of marketing campaigns.

If you need a little push, here are seven reasons to invest in the tools, software, and services that will put your data-driven marketing at the forefront of your branding efforts.

1. Maintain Loyal Customers

As the saying goes, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. It’s also cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones. This makes it all the more important to form a good rapport with your existing client base.

This is where data becomes your best friend. Data can reveal insights about your most loyal customers. The information can be used to create new retention and loyal programs that will keep your consumers on board for the long-term. For example, if the data reveals that loyal customers gravitate towards a certain product category, then perhaps you can create a loyalty program offering exclusive discounts for that particular item category.

Not convinced loyalty programs are effective? One study actually found that 75% of companies that implemented a loyalty program saw a positive return on investment.

2. Business Intelligence (BI) Software Is Easier than Ever to Use

As recent as a decade ago, data analyses were relegated to a specific department consisting of data scientists and marketing forecasters. The data was simply too complex to be deciphered by a layperson. Nowadays, self-service BI tools make it easy for people to interpret big data. These tools utilize easy-to-use dashboards, navigation systems, and data visualization for presenting the data in an easy-to-read format.

All it takes is a few hours of training and watching a few video tutorials to get everyone acquainted with the system. The learning curve is such that anyone can jump right in after a few lessons.

3. Determine Future Trends

The distinction between business intelligence and business analytics (BA) are often blurred at best. The latter is often used for predicting future trends based on current consumer patterns. Of course, BA isn’t a crystal ball, but it enables you to make educated business decisions based on actual figures and statistics. With BA, no business decision is ever made based on very generalized data.

The data, for instance, may reveal a gradual increase in sales of a particular product. You may surmise then that heavier investment in the product may yield higher revenue if the trend continues in the foreseeable future.

4. Increase Collaboration

Data is more accessible than ever. The latest BI tools enable quick access across multiple devices in real time. Data can be shared across networks and devices with anyone given authorized access. This makes it easier than ever to share and collaborate with team members working across different continents and time zones. More work teams these days are comprising of remote and telecommuting members. One study showed that telecommuting grew by 79.7% between 2005 and 2012.

Most BI tools also have a mobile version, enabling data access from smartphones. This especially comes in handy given that bring-your-own-device environments are on a huge incline. This gives employees immediate access even when they’re out of the home or office.

5. Data Driven Marketing Is Becoming More Affordable

Data driven marketing used to be only possible for large corporations with the financial backing to invest in data storage and in-house data scientists. Fortunately, the rollout of BI self-service tools has made it feasible for SMBs to compete with large corporate conglomerates.

Big data these days is easy to acquire and safely store through third-party cloud services. Even live consultation from trained data analyzers are now made affordable for smaller businesses. Of course, a considerable investment is still required, but it is hardly ever cost-prohibitive to the point where it’s out of range for SMBs.

6. Save Time

Downtime results in wasted cost. You lose money when agendas aren’t getting done and objectives aren’t being fulfilled. You need to maximize the time spent at the office, and this goes for everyone on the payroll. BI software will help you save time by maximizing efficiency and cutting down on tasks that can be automated by the BI system.

Most BI dashboards can be customized to update automatically. Even reports can be compiled automatically, and be constantly updated as new data comes in. If reports are compiled manually by a live staff, then that just ends up wasting time and resource. Anything that can be automated should not continue to be done manually.

7. Easily Track KPIs

Most businesses have established key performance indicators in place for evaluating performance in various areas, ranging from sales to employee performance. BI software makes it easy to analyze various KPIs through the use of charts, infographics, and other data visualization aids. Such tools can also assess any correlations between performance and business operation to identify strong and weak points.

KPI tracking is one of the most surefire ways to see what is working and what isn’t. This enables you to make adjustments and terminate methods that are yielding little fruit. It may even reveal that the KPIs you’re using may not be the best gauge for the goals you’re trying to accomplish. This helps you come up with entirely new sets of KPIs and test them against pre-existing metrics.

Data-driven marketing is exploding. Data reveals key business intelligence insights that gauge performance from a variety of vantage points. In the day and age of big data, this is how organizations get ahead of the competitors. It’s a game of who can best monopolize their data.