Demand for analytics is exploding, with Gartner principal analyst Dan Summer reporting that the business intelligence platform market grew eight percent over the past year to $14.1 billion. Half of new spending is contributing to data discovery, the branch of BI that makes analytics data and reporting available to end users. One of the most practical ways to benefit from tracking business analytics data is to see how sales numbers compare to your marketing efforts, and how each are impacting your ability to increase revenue.
Track Your Marketing Budget
The typical small business marketing budget averages about $2,000, according to a 2012 Staples survey. To effectively utilize such limited resources, it's vital to track the return for every dollar spent. Towards this end, Forbes contributor Dave Lavinsky says that first, you should review your overall financial situation to see what your profit margin leaves available for marketing. The Small Business Administration recommends that companies generating under $5 million annually with profit margins of 10 to 12 percent should assign 7 to 8 percent of revenue to marketing.
Second, decide where to spend your marketing budget, dividing expenditures between brand development and promotion. Finally, track which promotional tactics are working best and prioritize high-performing campaigns.
Social Media Numbers
Among today's digital promotional tools, social media stands preeminent, making performance tracking here imperative. Analytics information can help determine how to best allocate resources among different social platforms. For instance, a recent Forrester survey revealed that Google+ generates nearly as much user interaction per post as Facebook and almost twice as much as Twitter.
These numbers can also help better leverage specific platforms. For example, a fall 2013 BI Intelligence report found that on Facebook, it's more important to track audience reach, engagement, sentiment, and shares than revenue per customer.
Social media promotion and other lead generation tactics such as search engine optimization are generally geared towards building a mailing list for follow-up email marketing, another area where analytics information can be invaluable. Email marketing provider Constant Contact recommends tracking variables such as open rates, clicks, forwards, and social shares. Digital marketing expert Dave Chaffey explains how such information can be integrated with Google Analytics by using tagged links.
The bottom line for revenue is sales, and integrating analytics and sales data can help businesses manage revenue generation systematically for predictable results. For instance, InsightSquared provides the ability to conveniently display vital sales data, both in historical forms such as monthly or quarterly results and in forward-oriented predictions based on analysis of current opportunities. Even individual sales representatives' personal close rates can be factored in to accurately predict monthly revenue.
Repeat Business Numbers
A key to a sustainable sales model is repeat business—another area where analytics data can help ensure that revenue streams stay steady. For example, according to Venture Beat, Publishers Clearing House has found that 50 percent of its repeat traffic comes from mobile devices, and it is shifting its marketing from magazines to apps and games accordingly.