Empowering Better Decisions: Meet Wiland’s Business Intelligence Group
Gathering data is only the first step to making decisions that drive growth. It takes business intelligence, or BI, to make that data meaningful. Wiland established its BI group in 2016 to serve this need for marketing intelligence informed by valuable spending data and top-flight analytics.
In today’s data-centric world, it’s easier than ever to accumulate endless amounts of information about your customers, your competition, and every other facet of your business. But gathering data is only the first step to making decisions that ultimately drive growth. It’s the role of business intelligence, or BI, to connect those two endpoints.
As the leader of Wiland’s BI group, I’m constantly looking for new ways to turn the massive amounts of highly valuable data that we have access to into solutions for our partners and clients. This blog post will provide a bit of backstory about our BI team, explain what BI means in a marketing context, and highlight some of the ways we’re helping Wiland’s clients transform data into action.
A Culture of Analytics
First, a little history. Data engineering and predictive analytics have always been foundational to our business at Wiland. Expertise in these disciplines enabled us to begin providing the high-performing audiences that built our reputation. In due course, Wiland has come to serve thousands of brands and organizations, which has informed our point of view about the many markets within which our clients operate.
It was natural, then, for our clients to look to us for strategic information about their competitive landscape in addition to our audiences and data. And we’ve been happy to help. Wiland established its BI group in 2016 to serve this need for marketing intelligence informed by valuable spending data and top-flight analytics. Note that our group’s role falls outside of predictive analytics, which enables the teams supporting that crucial function to stay focused on the data science that drives excellence in audience modeling.
Wiland established its BI group in 2016 to serve a need for marketing intelligence informed by valuable spending data and top-flight analytics.
Good Questions. Even Better Answers.
As a discipline, BI informs the work of many departments in an organization, including operations, HR, and finance. Today’s discussion will focus on BI’s importance to marketing teams and highlight some typical situations in which marketers might consider reaching out for BI assistance. I find it helpful to frame the discussion in terms of the four domains of every marketing promotion: offer, creative, audience, and timing. As a marketer, business intelligence is defined as any information that helps you make a better decision in one of these domains and in the campaigns that tie your promotions together.
When doing any kind of data analysis, it’s good to have a goal in mind. I suggest you start by casting your goals in business terms, not data terms. Maybe you work for a nonprofit whose goal is to attract more young donors to your cause. Or perhaps you’re looking to lower the overall cost of your DTC retail prospecting. Think strategically about how to meet your goal in terms of the four marketing domains listed above. This should bring into focus what you’ll need to measure as you pursue your goal, and that in turn informs what data you’ll need and how you might structure your analysis.
At this point, you may find that you don’t have all of the necessary data. If you were trying to attract younger donors to your cause, it might be helpful to know how younger donors are interacting with other organizations with appeals similar to your own. How young realistically is “younger”? What is the retention rate for those donors after their first gift? When you have questions like these that you just can’t answer on your own, that might be the right moment to reach out to us for the answers.
Clients and Partners First
We receive many different BI-related requests from clients and partners. Most often, a request involves a universe of people or firms to study, one or more metrics, relevant statistics, or KPIs, and at least one time period. All of that is grounded in some marketing context or target for the investigation. I tend to group requests into categories of study based on the specific goal of the request:
- Comparative analyses are intended to reveal meaningful similarities or dissimilarities between one dimension while holding others constant. A comparative analysis question would be something like: How does my Q4 revenue from new-to-files compare with others in my market?
- Planning and trend analyses reveal how some metric changes over time. A planning and trend analysis question would be something like: Given this trend in my retention rates across digital channels, how might I allocate my marketing budget next quarter?
- Profiling analyses seek to identify attributes about a group that tend to correlate with some other attribute or measurable behavior. A sample profiling analysis question would be something like: I have this great cohort of donors who came on file with above average inception gift amounts. What else do they have in common?
- Combined analyses produce a complex result using one or more of the three categories above.
Remember the four domains of a marketing campaign (offer, creative, audience, and timing) we discussed previously? If you apply the information flowing out of these kinds of investigations thoughtfully to any one of the domains, you’ll position yourself well to make decisions that improve your promotions and drive business growth.
The bottom line? Business intelligence requires a willingness to experiment, collect your results, and iterate.
Whatever questions you’re trying to answer to make your campaigns work harder and smarter for your organization, chances are good that we can provide intelligence that makes those decisions a little easier.
Tags: business intelligence comparative analysis planning and trend analysis profile analysis