Should you use business analysis in marketing? Is it valuable or just a waste of time? Marketing is an expensive but crucial aspect for any business, regardless of size or industry. If something goes wrong, you can be out thousands of dollars in as little as an hour!
Business analysis helps you understand pitfalls and plot holes in your business before it’s too late. But before we get there, we need to understand the basics of business analysis and business analysts.
What is business analysis?
Business analysis is a method of research for identifying business needs and offering appropriate solutions for any of the associated problems. Solution range from process management improvement to software to strategic planning.
Do you need business analysis?
Would I highly recommend it? Absolutely.
All businesses suffer from internal and external problems. Sometimes, the problem is less of an issue itself compared to your approach to that problem. If you avoid using analyses, you’re likely not able to approach the problem in an optimum way.
Rather than responding and reversing damage caused by an active problem, business analysis allows you to actively investigate problems while they’re still idle. Afterward, the actions taken are accessed to improve current business systems. And every action taken (as well as the result) is documented.
Who conducts business analyses?
A business analyst offers analysis services for all businesses — entrepreneurial, startup, small/medium, and enterprises. Although some analysts may only work with a certain type of business structure or industry.
Most business analysts start as college graduates after getting a degree in business, information systems, accounting, human resources, or similar fields. After graduating, the analysis may take additional training courses and become certified.
For traditional analysis, I recommend hiring a business analyst who has experience or a proven track record for improving business systems. If possible, find an analyst who has worked with other businesses in your industry, as they’ll be more familiar with problems and solutions fitting your situation.
How does business analysis intercept with marketing?
As I said earlier, one aspect of business analysis involves exchanging strategic planning for business owners — like marketing.
Without marketing, customers won’t know about the new company‘s product and services. Gone are the days where you could set up shop and have a line of excited customers outside the door. Now, companies need to deliberating seek out customers online and in-person to close sales.
Unfortunately, marketing is comprised of many steps. From researching target markets to selecting the right channels (social media, ads, direct mail, etc) to the appropriate means (copywriting, white papers, case studies, etc), there’s plenty that can go wrong.
This is why using business analysis is critical.
Why use business analysis in marketing?
Although most business analysis is conducted by business analysts, you don’t need to be one in regards to marketing. So long as you understand the approaches analysts use, it’s possible to enhance your marketing as a non-analyst.
One of the most simple tools business analysts use is SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis is an acronym. The letters stand for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And this is one of the first things you can use before, during, and after your marketing campaign.
Using SWOT in marketing
Understanding the strengths of your business allows you to make informed marketing decisions. For instance, perhaps you’ve plenty of happy customers who frequently spread the word about your products or services. In this case, a user-generated marketing campaign may be most beneficial to you.
Now let’s think about the opposite of strengths. Maybe one of your business weaknesses is the price. Materials are expensive and your margins are on the low side, so you’ll be increasing prices soon. In this case, you’ll never want to lead into the sale discussing price. The value of your product needs to be discussed first so that, when the customer gets to the price, it feels like they’re getting a discount — because the product is that good.
You can also identify opportunities after addressing strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you can offer a limited time discount on the products for a select number of people. Or the first five people who write about your products will get a bonus product (further encouraging customers to talk about your products online). Just be aware: Some opportunities can be created, other opportunities pop up and disappear without warning.
As for threats, this is where improving systems comes in handy. For this part, it may be best to bring in an analyst before (and after) the campaign, as a big part of their job description is finding leaks in systems and recommending actions to fix it. Threats undermine the success of your business and they can leak into the marketing aspect too.
Other business analysis tools to use in marketing
SWOT is one of the easiest analysis that can anyone can do with little training and without much to go on. There are other analytical tools you can use as well, especially if you want to go more in-depth prior to and after your next marketing campaign.
You may wish to pick and choose which of these analyses to use. Or, if you want to go crazy and do them all, go for it! It all depends on your resources, time frame, and business needs.
Business analysis is a research discipline designed to snuff out problems in business systems and provide optimal recourse to improve those systems. In most cases, a trained business analyst is hired to look at business operations, suggest improvements, and document the process. However, they may not be the best person for the job when it comes to marketing.
Business analysis in marketing improves the success rate of your next marketing campaign. You can use many common business analysis tools such as SWOT analysis, the Porter’s 5, PEST(LE) analysis, and more. Each analysis has a specific purpose and not all may be necessary for what you’re after.
Although you don’t need to use business analysis in your next marketing campaign, it can provide valuable information to take your campaign to another level. If you have the time and resources, absolutely go for it.
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