Welcome To The Era Of Digital Intelligence

I’m excited to announce the recent publication of Welcome To The Era Of Digital Intelligence. This idea has been brewing for a long time, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody who follows interactive marketing or web analytics. The macro marketing environment has changed – and continues to rapidly evolve – to accommodate new touchpoints, sophisticated consumers, and highly coordinated multichannel customer experiences. And as the remit of marketing expands, so too must that of marketing analytics.

It’s clear that traditional analytics approaches were not designed or intended to handle the breadth of channels, devices, volume, and speed that fuel today’s digital interactions. The endemic symptoms of these gaps are plain for anyone to see: the proliferation of analysis tools, the explosion of data warehousing projects, and the struggle to translate analytics into actionable insights. It is abundantly clear that we need to take a step back and re-imagine an analytics framework that adequately supports modern digital marketing.

Forrester calls this updated approach to marketing analytics “digital intelligence,” defined as:

The capture, management, and analysis of data to provide a holistic view of the digital customer experience that drives the measurement, optimization, and execution of marketing tactics and business strategies.

Digital intelligence comprises six “layers”:

  1. Digital data inputs – incorporating data from all digital marketing touchpoints
  2. Business data inputs – putting digital marketing data into context with data from the business
  3. Data processing – collecting, integrating, and managing data with a high degree of speed and granularity
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To Be (To Cloud) Or Not To Be (Not To Cloud) BI

My colleagues and I have just completed yet another engagement with a large client — one of dozens recently — who was facing a to be or not to be decision: whether to move its BI platform and applications to the cloud. It’s a very typical question that our clients are asking these days, mainly for the following two reasons:

  1. In many cases, their current on-premises BI solutions are too inflexible to support the business now, much less in the future.
  2. The relative success of cloud-based CRM (SFDC and others) solutions may indicate that cloud offers a better alternative.

These clients put these two statements together and make the reasonable assumption that cloud BI will solve many of the current BI challenges that cloud-based CRM solved. Reasonable? Yes. Correct? Not so fast — the only correct answer is “It depends.”

Let’s take a couple of steps back. First, let’s define applications or packaged solutions vs. platforms (because BI requires both).

Packaged solutions

  • Subscribe to a solution-like CRM
  • Provide standard business functions to all customers (which makes it different from “hosting;” see below)
  • Difficult to tailor to specific needs
  • Usually are used synonymously (but incorrectly, see below) with software-as-a-service (SaaS)

 Platforms for building solutions

  • Subscribe to tools and resources to build solutions like CRM
  • Provide standard technical functions to developers
  • Contain limited, if any, business application functionality
  • Usually labeled either as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
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What’s A Facebook “Like” Worth?

Facebook LikeIt seems everyone’s obsessed with Facebook’s IPO right now. And while CMOs are beginning to understand the possibilities of Facebook, and other social technologies, to connect and engage with customers, many CIOs remain unclear on the value of Facebook.

A question many business executives ask is this: “What’s the value of having someone like your page?”

On its own, maybe not much. But the true potential lies in the ability to collect insights about the people who like brands, products or services – be it your own or someone else’s.

For example, the chart below shows the percentage of consumers by age group who have “liked” Pepsi or Coca-Cola. These data suggest Coca-Cola is significantly more popular with 17-28 year olds than Pepsi, while Pepsi appears more popular with the 36-70 crowd. I pulled these data points directly from the Facebook likes of each of the brand pages using a free consumer tool from MicroStrategy called Wisdom. Using this tool I can even tell that Coca-Cola fans are likely to also enjoy the odd Oreo cookie and bag of Pringles.

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