Discover Unexpected Revenue Opportunities with Automated AI

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To stay competitive in today’s fast changing market, companies are collecting even larger volumes of data hoping to spot the next big growth opportunity or operational advantage. For marketers, data collected through customer interactions, web analytics, transactions, inventory movement and even support desks can help provide direction and valuable insight into emerging problems or opportunities. The data is more and more pervasive, but the real challenge is to determine what to look for and what questions to ask when customer behavior is changing in such rapid, dramatic and unexpected ways.

The sheer volume of data collected is a mixed blessing. It can be hard to gather, merge and analyze data from multiple sources quickly and efficiently. And once this data is collected, most companies and marketing teams don’t have the bandwidth to sift through it manually looking for new angles and relationships. Even with the help of data scientists, identification of unexpected changes often comes long after they occur—when their potential impact has eroded, and first-mover competitive advantage has diminished.

Using AI to Surface Useful data                                                                  

With the help of AI-driven analytics, marketers can understand their business in a way that’s not been previously possible. Through intelligent tools, often called augmented analytics or automated business analysis, marketers can automatically and constantly analyze large volumes of data from a variety of sources and identify the problems or opportunities in an organization’s business and marketing strategy.

By implementing AI-driven automated business analysis, marketers can also uncover the root cause of evolving trends and customer behaviors—saving countless hours of work and quickly translating these insights into changes in go-to-market strategies and campaigns.

Pivoting During a Pandemic

In 2020, the coronavirus completely changed the way people lived, worked and shopped. These shifts had a profound effect on even the most common products, like the spike in demand for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. However, for companies that didn’t offer essential products, it was important to find a way to maintain a connection with customers during a time of complex uncertainty. Companies using AI to analyze business data were better equipped to find these areas of opportunity because even if they didn’t know what to look for, their software did. 

In one example, marketers at a leading bath and beauty brand noticed a trend in sales that showed an opportunity to grow sales when revenue was generally falling. This “green shoot” of opportunity is a great example of how the next great marketing strategy can be hiding in business data in plain sight, but impossible to find without help.

With an automated business analysis platform in place, the bath and beauty marketing team was automatically notified when candle sales exceeded the expected sales volume. The marketing team wasn’t analyzing each of their thousands of SKUs against their expected sales performance, since there is no way to do that manually, so this metric was never even considered previously. But the AI platform automatically found this insight, and in doing so, helped direct the marketing team toward a specific category of offerings that could bring in new revenue.

As a result, the brand was able to quickly launch marketing campaigns to promote candles and leverage this positive change in customer buying behavior. This unexpected insight also helped the team ensure that inventory levels could be aligned with the new expected sales. Simply by uncovering a trend, the brand was able to capture more sales by capitalizing on an otherwise unseen potential revenue stream.

Discovering Your Most Powerful Channels

In another example, an award-winning travel company applied automated business analysis to its data to identify—in real time—the best performing sales channel partners that could help them optimize every possible opportunity for revenue. Because of the pandemic, the challenge was finding high-performing partners who weren’t in a constant state of change.

They started by integrating data from hundreds of referral partners in a process that took less than a day. The next step was allowing the AI-enabled platform to analyze the data and identify the exact channels that were generating the most referrals. Immediately, they were able to lock in on the partners that were driving the most online inventory, content and ultimately revenue. Without AI, this task would have been impossible, given the large number of partners and data points.

By focusing their support on these few high-performing partners, the company was able to move marketing budget and reduce spend by tens of thousands. As a result, they increased sales, reduced costs and gained a viable tool to identify the best partners for future sales.

In times of uncertainty and enormous change, especially in customer behavior and data, being able to focus attention on the most critical changes happening in your business is a competitive advantage. By seeing subtle changes in consumer behavior that hide deep in the mountains of data you collect, you can act quickly and take advantage of them long before your competitors realize what is going on. The use of AI-enabled technologies like automated business analysis in marketing today are easy to apply, help organizations stay up to speed on an evolving marketplace and capture more revenue by simply following their data.

About the Author

Sean Byrnes, Co-Founder and CEO of Outlier. Sean was the co-founder of Flurry (acquired by Yahoo in 2014), the largest mobile analytics company in the world. In his free time, Sean advises some early stage technology companies and invests in many others. Sean holds a B.A. in Engineering from Dartmouth College and an M.Eng. in Computer Science from Cornell University.

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