“You can't manage what you can't measure.” This maxim by Peter Drucker rings truer than ever before for brand marketers today. More so, considering the rapid proliferation of engagement channels and branding messages in the digital era, where the consumer is inundated with numerous marketing communications every day.
The number of digital touch points is rising by 20 percent per annum as more tech-savvy, younger consumers gain purchasing power and embrace online tools, a 2015 McKinsey study estimated. With consumers across the board getting more digitally empowered, digitization is increasingly becoming the primary pathway for buyer journeys.
The Data ‘Noise’ Challenge
Given this reality, using relevant brand-related data from multiple sources in real time, and analyzing them to respond quickly to evolving market dynamics, is critical. However, discerning the ‘signal’ from the ‘noise’ in an environment of data deluge is easier said than done.
Many marketers have painstakingly built dedicated datasets related to various core dimensions of their brand, such as equity, loyalty, attitudinal, penetration and sales. Each of these datasets serves a specific purpose, and requires a deep-dive analysis depending upon the brand objective at any given point in time. The foremost challenge today in decoding brand performance lies in integrating these disparate data silos, and generating actionable insights, for real-time, informed decision-making.
Also, analytical tools used by marketers currently lack intuitive, scalable dashboards that capture information concerning both macro and micro views across different geographies, consumer segments and product categories. The third significant bottleneck in tracking a brand’s performance and its consumer perceptions pertains to the inflexibility of existing tools, in terms of facilitating quick customization through the incorporation of user-friendly features.
Integrated Analytics Transmitting ‘Signals’
To glean tangible insights from various brand-related datasets faster, and at lower costs, marketers should look at adopting a ‘top down’ approach. First, they need to understand the big picture by consolidating market data from varied sources, and then identify the specific problem area or opportunity for further exploration.
In order to implement this approach effectively, companies need an automated analytical and visualization platform that can measure and monitor the performance of brands across various dimensions in a cohesive manner.
The platform should provision a dashboard with a snapshot view of the portfolio’s performance around key metrics. For example, it should track the top performers and laggards in the product basket, provide granular data regarding brand consumption and equity, and benchmark brand performance against competition. From a user experience standpoint, it must also offer turnkey charts and graphs for quicker takeaways and increased reusability.
Moreover, the platform should empower users to gauge a brand’s competitive landscape across different periods, and by different consumer segments and geographies. Understanding these aspects of brand performance better will allow marketers to optimize expenditure across channels for higher Return on Investment (ROI).
By combining customer, retail and research data effectively, marketers will be able to build a more holistic view of their brand’s performance, thus analyzing consumer behavior and expectations, competition and other trends better. This will help them fine tune the brand strategy for realizing improved business outcomes.
For instance, insights into whether any specific consumer segments have a disproportionately high impact on a brand’s performance could enable the requisite recalibration of sales and distribution. Similarly, analyzing the correlation between consumption and seasonality trends across different categories could pave the way for more targeted point of sale interventions.
Deciphering brand performance effectively, and in an agile manner, will be vital for marketers to be able to build strong, distinctive and compelling brands, and strengthen customer loyalty, in a hyper-competitive marketplace.
Leveraging data analytics to track brand performance across multiple dimensions offers a clear path for them to realize that ambition. After all, brands with a significant differentiated positioning capture five times more volume, and command a 13 percent price premium, compared to peers lacking meaningful differentiators, according to Kantar Millward Brown. So, let’s get analyzing!
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