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Justifying Marketing Budgets By Using BI

by Lyndsay WiseWednesday, June 24, 2009

When organizations look at allocating budgets and general financial resources to disparate departments within the organization, the general rule is that departments that are directly responsible for bringing in revenue will be given the largest budgets.  This is why the general assumption is that R&D and sales departments may have larger budgets than departments such as IT or HR.

For departments like marketing, however, this becomes a slippery slope.  The campaigns and activities generated by marketing departments help drive sales, market visibility, overall brand recognition, etc. These activities are quite important when looking at retaining or growing an organization’s market share and customer base.  The question this generates relates to the fact that even though marketing does not directly generate sales, marketing campaigns drive sales and brand profitability.  So, how do marketers justify spending and tie that spending to sales and to an increase in brand recognition?

For marketers, the strength of business intelligence lies in the ability to justify the allocation of marketing dollars to the organization.  Not only can marketers manage campaigns, they can look at areas such as demand generation, product pricing, positioning, and market opportunities.  Consequently, the benefit of BI to marketers is two-fold.  BI becomes a tool to manage performance, as well as a tool used to distribute appropriate funds to various initiatives.

This article discusses the benefits of business intelligence for marketers.  This includes broaching the discussion of how marketers can use BI to better manage their campaigns and general initiatives to tie them to an organization’s profits.

How Marketers Use Analytics To Drive Performance

Defined marketing metrics enable marketers to plan campaigns and activities while identifying which activities generate the most success.  Whether selecting an application designed specifically for marketing departments or building a customized solution, BI and the use of analytics within marketing departments have multiple uses.  Marketers can look at information collected across the organization including sales, customer experience management, etc. and cross-reference that data with campaign success.  In addition, external information can be collected from blogs, competitor web sites, social media forums and the like to create an accurate picture of current brand perceptions, market gaps and successful campaigns.

With the abundance of information that can be collected internally and externally, there is the ability to use BI for more than just tracking marketing campaigns and how they relate to the organization’s sales.  This means that both structured and unstructured data can be captured and used as a tool to generate more effective initiatives and gain an overall view of the market as an extension of the organization.

Successful marketing management involves more than simply campaign management.  The ability to transfer general marketing activities to BI allows better metrics identification, monitoring, planning, and gives organizations the ability to integrate marketing department metrics into the use of BI for executive management.  Consequently, the consolidation of metrics from across the organization provides a direct link for marketers to justify how they tie initiatives to overall sales and enables marketers to get a wide view of corporate performance, thereby giving them a broader view of what is required to help meet the goals of the organization.

BI enables marketers to look at every aspect that goes into managing marketing initiatives and monitor the metrics associated with setting overall goals and achieving success.  Because of the ability to integrate data and use previous trends and successes to plan for future events, organizations can begin to tie marketing initiatives to overall sales and the increase of market share.  This gives marketers the ability to tie marketing initiatives to overall organization success.

Tying Business Value To BI For Marketing

Looking at the many aspects that go into the successful completion of marketing campaigns and the use of BI to develop pricing, product and branding strategies - while tying these to the overall performance of the organization - shows the diversity BI adds to help enhance how marketing departments complete projects and define metrics.  The ability to tie BI to both marketing and the organization’s overall initiatives highlights the increasing value to organizations using BI.

A few years ago, BI was used primarily for multi-dimensional analysis and the identification of trends-based data.  Now, with the ability to integrate internal, external, structured and unstructured data sources, and stream data in near real time, organizations can push beyond historical-based analysis and combine past, present and future to plan and execute forward-looking strategies.  For marketers, the ability to tie in social media and sentiment analysis expands their power to bring successful marketing campaigns and tie those to their organization’s strategic goals.

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