Published on

January 3, 2024

Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence in Marketing: Unlocking Growth and Efficiency At Scale

Business intelligence in marketing mpowers marketers to optimize strategies and boost performance through data-driven customer and campaign insights.
Julia Dunlea
VP of Marketing
Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) tools empower marketers to optimize strategies and boost performance through data-driven insights on customers and campaigns. By leveraging BI to segment audiences, personalize engagement, analyze performance, and accelerate decisions, teams can drive greater ROI, faster growth, and more sales.

With competition intensifying amid rapidly evolving buyer preferences, BI platforms enable understanding audience behavior, predicting optimal spending, seizing emerging opportunities, and beyond. This guide explores diverse applications for BI in marketing and tips to tap into its competitive advantage.

Key Takeaways

  • Personalizing content and offers for customer segments drives substantial lifts in sales and marketing ROI;
  • Allocating budgets to best performing marketing tactics optimizes results. You can use machine learning models to predict which channel will perform the best. Start for free today;
  • Monitoring competitors helps pivot strategies staying ahead of market dynamics;
  • Stitching data across channels creates 360-degree customer views that enable highly tailored cross-channel experiences.

Core Use Cases of BI in Marketing

Business intelligence has a vital role to play across the entire marketing mix to help teams work smarter, identify what’s working, double down on the the most profitable customers and activities and eliminate waste. Here are some of the most popular applications for business intelligence in the marketing process.

Audience Identification and Targeting

One of the foremost applications of BI in marketing involves collecting and consolidating customer data from the various touchpoints - website interactions, email campaigns, social media, offline purchases etc. - to build a single view of the full customer experience.

Sophisticated BI tools like SiSense and AI-powered solutions like Akkio help marketers classify key audience groups or buyer personas using attributes like demographics, behavior patterns, spending capacity, preferences and more. This allows personalized messaging tailored to resonate best with specific segments leading to higher engagement.

For example, an apparel retailer can analyze customer data to identify various sub-groups of high-lifetime-value shoppers based on past transaction history and purchasing habits. AI-Powered Insights can extract key insights to optimize marketing efforts in minutes. They can then customize email campaigns for each micro-segment, with content and offers tailored to their interests and activity.

A McKinsey study found that personalization can deliver 5-8 times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more.

In a different business intelligence use case for marketing, consider a fashion retail company aiming to optimize its product placement and promotions. By analyzing customer purchase history, social media engagement, and trend analysis, the company identifies that their most profitable segment is environmentally conscious consumers aged 25-35 who prefer sustainable and ethically made clothing. Using this insight, the company tailors its marketing strategy to focus on eco-friendly materials and ethical production processes, emphasizing these values in their campaigns.

Marketing Performance Measurement

One of the biggest dilemmas in marketing is determining optimal budget allocation across the multitude of traditional and digital marketing channels available today.

By consolidating campaign data across email, social media, SEO, paid search, display ads etc. marketers can leverage BI dashboards to analyze the return-on-investment (ROI) and ROAS delivered by each platform. This helps identify the tactics working best for customer acquisition, lead generation and sales.

Accordingly, teams can tweak budgets, doubling down on the highest performing campaigns and cutting back on poor performers. They can also apply learnings from top performing assets to optimize future marketing collateral across channels.

Companies using business intelligence tools achieve 5 times faster marketing campaign decisions empowering them to capitalize on trends.

Beyond campaign-level insights, marketers can also leverage BI to track website engagement metrics such as most visited pages, exit rates, button clicks, file downloads and more. This helps identify content resonating best with visitors to guide decisions on lead nurturing tactics.

Competitive Intelligence

Akkio's Chat Explore revealing a scatterplot of keyword difficulty and search volume for your competitors
Akkio's Chat Explore revealing a scatterplot of keyword difficulty and search volume for your competitors

Gleaning intelligence on the latest strategies and positions adopted by competitors is crucial for making decisions on your own marketing and activities including pricing, targeting, channel spend and more.

BI tools help marketing analysts quickly compile digital signals from various sources including media sites, marketing dashboard, influencer blogs, social buzz etc. to determine competitor focus areas, new product launches, growth strategies, shifts in messaging and more.

Text analytics capabilities can rapidly parse through unstructured content to extract key themes, sentiment, and insights without hours of manual effort. Further analysis helps assess potential implications and shape an appropriate response.

For instance, after a competitor acquisition, analyzing press releases and news articles can hint at their expansion strategy into new regions. This can help plan proactive targeting of those markets to gain first-mover advantage.

Omnichannel Personalization

As customers engage across more touchpoints spanning web, mobile apps, email, other social media platforms, offline stores etc. marketers need to stitch together data across channels to map complete journeys.

This aggregated view of every interaction supplied by BI tools helps create personalized experiences matching individual preferences, regardless of channel.

For example, advertising platforms can track who clicked on their Facebook ads and then visited – but not purchased – from their website. Retargeting such users with customized email drip campaigns reflecting their intent has shown substantial lifts in conversion rates.

In another example, a hotel chain can track a guest’s stay history, room preferences, dining orders, recreation interests and other interactions to recommend suitable upgrade offers or customized holiday packages on their next visit.

Personalized omnichannel experiences deliver up to 20% higher satisfaction rates. Nearly 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized experiences.

Key Tools for Marketing BI

To build 360-degree customer views, analyze data, and consolidate campaign data for flexible analysis, business intelligence tools need to ingest information from various martech systems. Typical sources feeding into marketing analytics include:

CRM Software

CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot provide a wealth of customer data to power marketing business intelligence and optimization. By syncing contact details, firmographics, transaction history, campaign response rates, service ticket volumes, satisfaction scores, and customer lifetime value data into BI tools, marketers can segment audiences and personalize engagements for higher conversion.

CRM data also enables precise measurement of marketing performance through the sales funnel - empowering ROI analysis by campaign and fine-tuning of budget allocations towards best performing tactics.

Web Analytics Platforms

Solutions like Google Analytics and Mixpanel supply rich digital marketing data to feed marketing business intelligence systems. By tracking website traffic volume, page views, bounce rates, on-site search keywords, button and file downloads, conversion funnel metrics and campaign attribution, these tools allow granular assessment of digital content effectiveness.

Ingesting web analytics data into BI enables deep multi-channel marketing campaigns analysis down to the page level. Marketers can identify high-performing landing pages, optimize lead nurturing programs, and refine budget allocation towards tactics demonstrating best ROI. This drives substantial improvements in cost-efficiency and return on digital marketing spend.

If you want to get started and draw insights from your GA4 data in one click, take a look at Akkio. The first 14 days are completely free, no credit card required. We have an easy to use connector for your GA4.

Social Media Analytics Tools

Social media analytics tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite offer invaluable inputs for marketing business intelligence platforms. By consolidating audience demographics, interests, post reach, link clicks, content shares, lead generation rates, sales conversion data, competitor tracking and influencer metrics, these tools provide a 360-degree view of social media marketing performance.

Syncing this social data with campaign statistics in BI enables precise measurement of engagement and content resonance across target customer groups. Marketers can continuously refine social strategies and tactical plans based on this intelligence to optimize spend and results. The ability to rapidly gauge social content effectiveness through BI allows teams to double down on best resonating themes and optimize campaigns further.

Email Marketing Systems

Email marketing tools like MailChimp and ActiveCampaign provide extensive marketing campaign analytics to power marketing business intelligence platforms. By ingesting open rates, clickthrough rates, bounce rates, subscriber demographics, email revenue and ROI, link click tracking and conversion attribution data into BI tools, marketers gain insights to optimize ongoing nurture marketing initiatives.

Tracking subscriber engagement over time allows segmenting audiences and personalizing email content based on past responses. Granular analysis of high-performing email copy and send times enables refinement of campaigns for improved results. Syncing return on each email blast empowers fine-tuning of frequency and budget allocation across the subscriber base for maximum impact.

AI Solutions

Automatically generate custom reports

AI solutions like Akkio are revolutionizing business intelligence and marketing by enabling companies to predict trends, optimize strategies, and personalize customer experiences. Akkio's platform utilizes machine learning and data analytics to provide actionable insights, helping businesses understand and target their ideal customer segments effectively.

By analyzing vast amounts of data, including customer behavior and market conditions, it helps marketers craft campaigns, predict outcomes, and make informed decisions swiftly, thereby enhancing efficiency and driving growth. As a result, companies can anticipate market changes, tailor their offerings, and stay ahead in the competitive landscape, all through the power of AI-driven insights.

Top BI Capabilities for Marketers

The business intelligence software landscape has seen robust innovation over the last decade. Cutting-edge platforms today integrate sophisticated capabilities to meet diverse business analytics and use cases beyond conventional reporting.

When evaluating BI tools for marketing analytics, key features and capabilities include:

Flexible Data Connectivity

Leading BI platforms provide extensive connectivity to ingest batch or streaming data from diverse sources including SQL databases, cloud storage, web APIs, spreadsheets, log files and more.

They also offer data transformation tools to clean, shape and enrich diverse datasets into analysis-ready structures.

Scalable Data Modeling

Sophisticated semantic models can interrelate extensive datasets while accommodating complex metrics definitions, calculated columns and aggregation logic for flexible analysis.

User-friendly interfaces with search and collaboration features simplify building reusable data models.

Self-Service Discovery

Intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces allow business users to conduct ad hoc analysis without dependency on IT teams. Augmented analytics capabilities like natural language querying and automated insights aid less tech-savvy teams.

Custom Reporting and Dashboards

Rich visual exploration helps spot trends and patterns within data. Pixel perfect parameterized report and dashboard templates help standardize delivery of analytics content through emails, portals or embedded apps.

Portability and Collaboration

Support for data storytelling formats helps synthesize key findings from interactive data analysis for stakeholder reviews. Content subscription and annotation foster organization-wide collaboration.

AI-powered Insights

AutoML (automated machine learning) empowers users to easily build highly accurate predictive models while natural language generation translates findings into human-readable narratives.

Tools like Akkio take this a step further. Business intelligence in marketing is easier than ever with AI-powered char features that generate graphs, help identify growth opportunities for your marketing strategies, and identify your target audience from a plethora of integrations.

Skip the long data science process and drill down into valuable insights for efficient marketing campaigns in one click. Thanks to AI, business intelligence for marketing is on steroids and available to everyone, no-code required.

Governance and Security

Sophisticated access controls, data encryption and masking, activity auditing help enforce policies and compliance requirements while safeguarding company data.

APIs and Embeddability

Open APIs ease embedding insightful analytics visualizations or predictions within operational apps to trigger automated workflows. White-labeled analytics promote customization options.

With exponential growth in marketing and consumer data, from multiplying channels and touchpoints, leveraging such cutting-edge capabilities unlocks immense potential for analytics-driven growth.

Overcoming Common Challenges with BI Adoption

Despite the immense potential of business data, multiple organizational and technology barriers often constrain broader BI adoption. By proactively addressing these early on, businesses can set themselves up for success:

Mitigating Data Quality Issues

Consolidating marketing data from disjointed legacy systems and channels frequently results in poor data quality - plagued by gaps, latency, errors, inconsistencies and ambiguity.

This severely impacts analysis reliability and decision-making unless addressed methodically. Steps to tackle quality concerns include:

Establishing Data Governance

Formalize data quality standards aligned to business requirements with executive sponsorship. Appoint data stewards to oversee compliance across systems.

Enforcing QA in Data Pipelines

Build validation checks within ETL/ELT workflows to identify issues early before propagation downstream. Maintain audit trails tracking data provenance end-to-end.

Promoting a Quality Culture

Drive engagement through training and incentives for achievement of quality goals. Embed quality KPIs into department OKRs for shared accountability.

Promoting Reusable Templates

Standardize all reporting and data visualization via centrally published dashboards on certified datasets. Maintain tight access control for live connections.

Driving User Adoption of BI

The success of any business intelligence program ultimately depends on widespread user adoption across the organization. However change management missteps often impede technology usage. Strategies to drive engagement include:

Communicating Success Stories

Publicize business impact metrics and testimonials with tangible ROI driven through BI adoption across departments and improve your marketing campaigns.

The Future of Data-Driven Marketing

Business intelligence has already delivered immense value in amplifying the marketing processes and outcomes. However the confluence of game-changing technologies promises to further revolutionize analytics over the next decade.

Conversational Interfaces powered by AI will soon allow querying data using intuitive natural language and voice interfaces rather than complex tools. Immersive augmented reality environments will shift analytics from screens to the real-world.

Hyperautomation driven by robotic process automation and AI will eliminate manual reporting and analysis tasks. AutoML empowers no-code, self-service modeling to democratize sophisticated capabilities like forecasting and predictive analytics.

The exponential growth of connected devices and sensors across products, supply chains and consumer engagement channels will massively expand data generation requiring next-gen cloud data lakes and streaming analytics infrastructure.

Sophisticated analytics coupled with data monetization will also create new revenue opportunities. Brands can syndicate data insights packaged as premium research subscriptions or embed analytics within products.

As data and analytics permeates deeper across the marketing stack, teams who adopt the right mindset, focused on continuously experimenting and optimizing engagements powered by top business intelligence tools, will sustain disproportionate competitive advantage.

Business intelligence adoption in marketing still remains relatively low despite the tangible benefits unlocked. However the need for data-driven decision making will only heighten given rising data volumes, tech-savvy buyers and intensifying business competition.

By implementing a well-governed, scalable, BI software platform with broad organizational buy-in, marketing teams can empower themselves to work smarter, drive efficiencies and deliver outsized business impact over peers.


As competition and data volumes continue rising, business intelligence is becoming an imperative for marketing teams seeking to thrive. By consolidating customer and campaign data across channels, applying analytics to optimize spending, personalize messaging, and accelerate decisions, organizations can work smarter, boost efficiency, and drive disproportionate growth. The future will reward teams who embed business intelligence for better marketing campaigns, within their marketing DNA.

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