What do today's businesses need to know about consumers?

Brought to you by the Villanova School of Business

Analytics is rapidly transforming every aspect of how businesses understand and interact with their customers. Big data has endless potential for providing companies with invaluable knowledge about people’s needs, desires and behavior. The ability to store vast amounts of quantitative information and build strategy from those findings allows organizations to reach audiences more effectively with marketing campaigns, customize shopping experiences and bring about improved engagement.

Gaining the perspective that gives a company a leg up on the competition requires experts who know how to capture relevant data and put it to work. Students working toward a master’s of science in analytics learn how to get the most out of quantitative information and optimize real-world outcomes. With these advanced skills, graduates are ready to identify key insights that bring an organization and consumers closer.

What analytics reveals about consumers

With big data, organizations are able to take a deep dive into the sentiments and actions of customers. Their knowledge makes it possible to develop wiser plans, budget more effectively and deliver highly individualized experiences. In a study from McKinsey & Company, over 85 percent of businesses  reported using customer analytics extensively resulted in a significant contribution of value, and they were also significantly more likely to outpace the market in profits.

Looking at usage and purchasing data for e-commerce websites may reveal how to appeal more consistently to particular segments of consumers. Analytics might show what aspects of a product or service are most consistently tied to customer satisfaction, so the organization can make adjustments.

Some businesses develop highly customized experiences in which web pages or apps shift to match a person’s past activities or purchases. Others strive to improve their service by finding the ideal match between someone’s individual preferences and the representative who is best suited to help. Companies are always looking for more efficient ways to drive conversions with their web presence, convincing someone who shows a casual interest in the business to buy something or request further information; analytics can show them the path to reach that goal.

Leveraging big-data insights

Every company has its own uses for big data, and achieving meaningful changes in how the business functions requires building a system and processes. To turn quantitative information into actionable strategy, there must be a data architecture in place that gets relevant findings to the right people in a timely fashion. Analytics experts create and maintain that infrastructure, find significant patterns in the information, and scrub any errors or unrepresentative outliers.

The next step is drawing on the data to bring about real-world results for functions like customer service, marketing and logistics. Analytics leaders should be prepared to communicate what they’ve learned to decision-makers in terms that are clearly understandable for non-specialists. With a grounding in soft skills like writing a persuasive report or giving an intriguing presentation, experts are able to make analytical discoveries a powerful force within the organization.

The future of customer interaction

While big data has already made a tremendous contribution to the operations at many companies, there are still even more possibilities ahead. Analytics will bring about greater segmentation of consumer populations and customization of user experiences. Companies currently building a robust data strategy will be the ones best positioned to achieve lasting success. Getting there involves gathering huge quantities of information on their own customers, drawing on relevant third-party findings and benchmarking against other businesses in the industry.

Consequently, analytics experts are essential for the long-term planning in a wide variety of businesses. The future will bring increased automation in the processes of gathering and interpreting data, but people with the knowledge to build systems, keep them running smoothly and produce strategic plans based on quantitative discoveries will remain essential. Businesses keep looking farther ahead, thanks to leaders with a thorough understanding of analytics tools and processes.

A data-driven education

To play a leading role in a data strategy that makes strong, productive connections with customers, you need to learn about the latest thinking in analytics and the tools that lay the foundation for those insights. Earning a master’s of science in analytics at Villanova University will teach you how to apply analytics principles and uncover the factors driving greater customer engagement and conversions. Take the first step toward creating the strategies that push a company into the future by visiting the program page to find out more and apply.

  Recommended Readings: Sources:

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/why-customer-analytics-matter

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/05/16/leveraging-customer-analytics-to-gain-a-competitive-advantage/#1387f1b5222f

http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/six-styles-of-customer-analytics/