6 min read March 27, 2020 Courtney Danyel The Unstoppable Rise of Marketing Intelligence PlatformsDoes your business need a marketing intelligence platform to centralize all those disparate data sources?Data has always been important in digital marketing. Performance marketers have long been tracking their campaigns and using basic attribution models (first click, last click, etc.) to analyze performance and decipher what tactics and approaches work for them. In 2020, though, things are much more complicated. It’s no longer enough to start tracking performance data halfway through a campaign and make reactionary adjustments. Simplistic attribution models also don’t offer a full picture of what factors are driving key performance goals.According to Adobe data and Marketing Charts, modern marketers are increasingly implementing a truly data-driven marketing approach through better data integration, tapping into real-time insights, utilizing predictive analytics, and more.In this era of technological expansion, there is a vast array of tools that marketers can employ to realize these strategies. In this article, we discuss why Marketing Intelligence Platforms represent one of the most powerful options for businesses both large and small.Get a Complete Picture of the Customer Journey Today the customer journey is far from linear. There are numerous touchpoints at the awareness, acquisition, and conversion stages that can influence your audience and encourage them to buy. Online touchpoints could include email, search, display ads, social media, third-party sites, your website, and more. Offline touchpoints could include radio, TV, print, direct mail, word-of-mouth, phone, point-of-sale, etc.10 years ago it was much easier to track a few audience engagements and understand how your marketing campaigns were performing. Today, it’s much more challenging as you may not have the appropriate software capabilities to track certain channels. Even if you do, there are still issues with having your data siloed on different platforms. That’s where marketing intelligence platforms come in. These tools are designed to integrate data from all relevant tracking technologies you use, whether it be your CRM, advertising platforms, or point-of-sale tool. You can upload any relevant business data you need, such as inventory data, offline call data, and more. The ability to view and analyze all business data from a single platform makes it possible to get a complete picture of your customer journey and consider all relevant factors in making performance-enhancing decisions. Attribute and Track KPIs with Confidence In the past, marketers could learn a lot about their campaign performance using various basic first click, last click, linear, or U-shaped attribution models. Now there are simply too many relevant touchpoints to rely on elementary definitions. Marketing Intelligence Platforms are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered decision engines that can empower marketers to build data-driven attribution models. This strategy utilizes your relevant business and performance data to understand how different audience interactions contribute to the conversion path across the customer journey. With Marketing Intelligence Platforms serving as a unified data source, they can tap into deep funnel data to help you make decisions that improve lead capture and conversion rates. Centralized data analysis further makes it possible to focus on the key performance indicators that matter most for your business. Clicks and conversions can only tell you so much about your performance. Revenue, profit, cost per acquisition, customer lifetime value, and churn are complex but valuable metrics that performance marketers can utilize to inform optimization changes. When you include data from external data sources (think Weather.com, Nasdaq, DOW) you can also measure market share and what external factors impact performance. Stop Looking in the Rearview Mirror Past performance data can offer a lot of insights to improve future campaigns. However, traditional analytical models make it very difficult to optimize campaigns in-progress. Businesses can save a lot of wasted marketing spend if they are empowered to make quick changes to their campaigns in real-time. This is possible using advanced Marketing Intelligence Platforms. In the modern technological ecosystem, there are a variety of different tools that can help you predict future performance based on past performance data, the current competitive landscape, and other relevant factors. Keyword Planner, for example, can forecast your average CPC for keywords that you bid on, and how adjusting your max CPC might impact performance: Powerful Marketing Intelligence Platforms can do an even better job forecasting performance. QuanticMind, for example, utilizes all relevant business data, seasonality, bid landscape data, and historical data to predict performance up to 100 days into the future. What’s more, machine learning algorithms constantly adjust projected performance based on real-time performance data, so your forecasts are always up-to-date.Automate Insights and Optimizations Automatically optimizing based on predicted insights is the key capability that sets Marketing Intelligence Platforms apart from other marketing automation tools. There are plenty of technologies that offer high-end analytics dashboards, yet advanced analytics doesn’t help marketers see through the noise and truly surface the most valuable insights. By taking advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Marketing Intelligence Platforms can not only assess your business data but pinpoint the insights most relevant to your business goals.The more business data you have, the more necessary this feature really is. Regardless of how many data scientists you have on your marketing team, they don’t have the capacity to constantly analyze the ongoing stream of relevant data that flows through. Look at bid optimization, for example. There’s bid landscape data, competition, budget, inventory, and many other important factors to consider on a daily basis. A powerful Marketing Intelligence Platform can process all this data for you and derive lucrative insights to inform optimization tactics. It can then activate these insights by making thousands of bid adjustments daily to make sure your campaigns are always at optimum efficiency. Make Your Entire Budget Count With the rise of omnichannel, marketing budgets are increasingly stretched thin. Even enterprise-level businesses need to be careful about how much budget they allocate to different marketing channels. Wasting even a small portion of your budget leads to inefficient campaigns and difficulty keeping up with competitor tactics. Marketing Intelligence Platforms can help businesses make sure their entire budget is spent wisely. Again, it all goes back to unified data management. Data from various marketing channels, customers, products, and departments across your business are all analyzed together so you can understand exactly how different factors are impacting your bottom line. You can also get a deeper understanding of how spending impacts specific goals such as revenue or retention. The ability of some Marketing Intelligence Platforms to automate insights and make quick changes to optimize your campaigns also has a huge impact on efficiency. The competitive landscape is changing constantly. A machine that can analyze performance based on the latest trends and then make changes to keep your campaigns optimized can significantly reduce wasted ad spend.Improve Cross-Team Collaboration Marketing Intelligence Platforms centralize data from the various departments throughout your business, including marketing, sales, operations, IT, etc. As a result, they can provide insights relevant to teams at different levels of your business.It’s common for teams to operate as siloed units with little collaboration between them. Marketing Intelligence Platforms can set up the marketing team as a leader in analyzing relevant data for different departments and generating ideas for new optimizations. Insights derived from unified data analysis can help improve sales execution and efficiency of other business processes. Comprehensive data analysis also encourages cross-team discussions that can lead to all sorts of new, innovative ideas to improve customer experience, drive more sales, improve retention, and drive growth. Why All Marketers Need a Marketing Intelligence Platform Once you understand how Marketing Intelligence Platforms work, it’s clear there’s a lot of benefits to utilizing one for marketing. Still, it’s easy to come up with reasons to hold off investing in new software and integrating it into your strategy. There’s always a way to justify waiting until your business expands or a new quarter starts. You might even think it’s a good idea to invest in a few years down the line.However, one thing is clear: the unstoppable rise of Marketing Intelligence Platforms has already begun. There is simply too much relevant data you can use to optimize your marketing strategy and other processes. Businesses that use a Marketing Intelligence Platform are already benefiting from better analytics, optimizations, forecasting, cross-team collaboration, customer service and more. Sooner or later, investing in this technology will be essential to keep up with competitor performance. For many businesses, it already is.