Big Data has cre­ated analy­sis paral­y­sis in many orga­ni­za­tions today. This term describes a state in which one can­not move or make deci­sions because of over­analy­sis of too many data points. Orga­ni­za­tion­ally speak­ing, it is impor­tant to avoid analy­sis paral­y­sis at all costs. Enter: data-driven ana­lyt­ics as a solu­tion to paral­y­sis in the era of Big Data.

Accord­ing to Gart­ner VP dis­tin­guished ana­lyst Andrew Frank, this solu­tion “refers to acquir­ing, ana­lyz­ing, and apply­ing infor­ma­tion about cus­tomer and con­sumer wants, needs, con­text, behav­ior and moti­va­tions, and the effects of mar­ket­ing pro­grams and strate­gies.” From sig­nals to seg­ments to solu­tions, ana­lyt­ics takes infor­ma­tion and makes it use­ful and action­able for an organization’s bot­tom line. For exam­ple, every data point that comes in when a per­son clicks, reg­is­ters, or reads online con­tent, pro­vides infor­ma­tion about that vis­i­tor. Ana­lyt­ics turns sig­nals turned into traits—demographics, age, etc.—and those are turned into use­ful seg­ments for marketing.

Ana­lyt­ics empow­ers orga­ni­za­tions to stay rel­e­vant, act­ing in real time based on real data, not guess­work. In “How Mar­keters Can Adapt to Chang­ing Media,” Car­olyn Con­tois reports that orga­ni­za­tions run­ning a cam­paign can use auto­mated sys­tems to ana­lyze and dis­till infor­ma­tion and then “course cor­rect” in real time, which can be a “total game changer.” In Gartner’s report, “How Data Is Trans­form­ing Mar­ket­ing,” 242 mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics sur­vey par­tic­i­pants reported that 21 per­cent of their mar­ket­ing bud­gets are allo­cated to mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics, and cus­tomer ana­lyt­ics was noted as the most essen­tial data to attain. So how can orga­ni­za­tions ensure that they have wisely put one-fifth or more of their bud­gets to good use?

Mak­ing ana­lyt­ics work for your orga­ni­za­tion should entail the fol­low­ing prac­tices or com­po­nents based on Gartner’s three data mega­trends:

Data Mega­trend 1 | Pro­vid­ing the Right Peo­ple with the Right Experience

Gart­ner reports that this data mega­trend, expe­ri­ence tar­get­ing, can be illus­trated by this thought in cus­tomers’ minds: “Rec­og­nize me, and don’t make me repeat myself.” Through ana­lyt­ics, an orga­ni­za­tion can cre­ate a bet­ter and more pow­er­ful expe­ri­ence for their tar­get cus­tomers, increase con­ver­sions, and improve brand­ing. This is achieved through a mul­ti­chan­nel approach includ­ing ads, social, web­site, mobile, and more.

For exam­ple, RSA Insur­ance Group, with over 17 mil­lion cus­tomers in 140 coun­tries, used ana­lyt­ics to assess demo­graphic pref­er­ences and to improve their customer’s web­site expe­ri­ences. Ana­lyt­ics pro­vided detailed insight such as where cus­tomers aban­doned their pur­chases and whether cus­tomers looked at another prod­uct, expe­ri­enced tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, or aban­doned the site to com­plete the trans­ac­tion later. After look­ing at the data, RSA imple­mented the fol­low­ing changes on their web­site: 1) high­lighted the prod­ucts suited to each cus­tomer dur­ing the web­site visit, 2) per­son­al­ized optional offers, and 3) seg­mented home­page traf­fic by new ver­sus exist­ing customers.

What were the results for RSA? They expe­ri­enced 1) increased con­ver­sion by 2 per­cent and prof­its by almost £1 per sale (by per­son­al­iz­ing optional offers), 2) lifted login rate by 6 per­cent (by seg­ment­ing home­page traf­fic), and 3) increased con­ver­sion by 4 per­cent (by opti­miz­ing the home­page). RSA is an exam­ple of using data-driven ana­lyt­ics and real-time test­ing to pro­vide the right peo­ple with the right expe­ri­ences in order to improve their ROI.

Data Mega­trend 2 | Pub­lic­ity Gained through Organic, Grass­roots Action

Earned media is just that—earned. Your orga­ni­za­tion has not paid for it, per se, but has worked to earn the public’s inter­est, buzz, and organic PR. Gart­ner notes that this data mega­trend, attri­bu­tion and earned media, can be illus­trated by this cus­tomer sen­ti­ment: “I will share opin­ions to lever­age my net­work.” Orga­ni­za­tions that wisely inte­grate this mega­trend into their busi­ness prac­tices will lever­age cost-effective social media tools. This will increase inter­ac­tiv­ity and con­nec­tiv­ity with customers.

When an orga­ni­za­tion has done, said, or cre­ated some­thing news­wor­thy, the pub­lic takes inter­est. As a result, the pub­lic will adver­tise for you, free of charge. Alex Ohan­ian of Red­dit explained in his TED Talk that this occurred with the Green­peace cam­paign to stop the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment from off­shore whal­ing. Green­peace cre­ated a “vote-on-a-whale-name” cam­paign that went viral thanks to one catchy name: “Mis­ter Splashy Pants.” The cam­paign resulted in almost 120,000 votes/site vis­its, the cre­ation of mar­ketable items such as t-shirts and pins fea­tur­ing Mis­ter Splashy Pants, and ulti­mately, the end of Japan­ese whal­ing. This campaign’s suc­cess was based on organic, grass­roots action.

Data Mega­trend 3 | Com­mu­ni­cat­ing the Right Mes­sage at the Right Time

This mega­trend, real-time mar­ket­ing, is illus­trated by cus­tomers shout­ing, “I want it now!” How should orga­ni­za­tions respond? Accord­ing to Gart­ner, through uti­liz­ing the automa­tion and pro­gram­matic media offered by today’s tech­nol­ogy. With the right tech­no­log­i­cal tools, orga­ni­za­tions can han­dle data faster and more effi­ciently, respond­ing in a timely man­ner to the cus­tomers who just “want it now”!

Ana­lyt­ics tools can pro­vide auto­mated reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that track and aggre­gate data such as vis­i­tor traf­fic to web­sites and daily con­ver­sion events. Equipped with this pow­er­ful data, orga­ni­za­tions can then com­mu­ni­cate the right mes­sage at the right time. For exam­ple, using ana­lyt­ics Pet­Car­eRx “mar­keters iden­ti­fied that a con­densed one-page check­out process pro­duced an imme­di­ate 20% lift in con­ver­sion. By intro­duc­ing cus­tomized con­tent related to vis­i­tor ‘pet points,’ the retailer was able to achieve an addi­tional 8% boost in con­ver­sion.” They also achieved mea­sur­able impact through auto­mated match­ing of ban­ner con­tent for each vis­i­tor and rotat­ing con­tent tied to the retailer’s most pop­u­lar 10 to 15 prod­ucts, some with prod­uct images and cat or dog imagery, based on cus­tomers’ pref­er­ences. Pet­Car­eRx is a great exam­ple of com­mu­ni­cat­ing the right mes­sage at the right time in order to achieve suc­cess­ful results.

The Bot­tom Line: Use Ana­lyt­ics to Avoid Analy­sis Paralysis

If your orga­ni­za­tion is expe­ri­enc­ing analy­sis paral­y­sis, con­sider the use­ful­ness of ana­lyt­ics in over­com­ing that state. From this point for­ward, build­ing ana­lyt­ics into any dig­i­tal or offline mar­ket­ing strat­egy is the key to keep your orga­ni­za­tion mov­ing for­ward in this era of big, and ever-expanding, data.