The effectiveness of business intelligence in strategic marketing: a case study of Athi river mining limited arm cement
Ongalo, Rachael N
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The marketing management process and the marketing mix can be complex. Effective marketing planning requires not only intelligence on customers but also intelligence across a wide spectrum of areas such as product lifecycle and supply chain. The reality is that, strategic marketers struggle to get information from diverse parts of the business for analysis and decision making. This ultimately leads to untimely, inaccurate and unreliable decision making. The power of Business Intelligence is to combine data from diverse areas of the business into a single version of the truth referred to as enterprise data warehouse. Once this is achieved data can be pooled and turned into information. Many companies have minimum information about their customers. Such customer could be people who started using a given product while seeking a solution for an apparently unrelated need. These typical customers represent an untapped opportunity to grow the business in a new direction at minimal risk and cost, thereby achieving competitive advantage. The aim of strategic marketing is to know and understand the customer so well and match the product or service to their needs. Understanding of customer information and trends can be achieved using Business Intelligence. In today's business environments, organizations have to utilize their full potential to continuously improve and become more competitive in portfolio analysis, portfolio balancing and performance measurement. BI and analytical tools have become a necessity for organizations to help them make informed decisions from data gathered. This data can be collected from different systems namely; ERP, CRM, transaction systems and any other system that contains information about the customer and Marketing mix elements. BI tools play a vital role in the simplification of such complex operations and presenting unified reports. Activities such as monitoring of business processes, analysis and presentation of the large volume of data and execution of marketing strategies can be measured for their effectiveness using Business Intelligence. In addition, Business Intelligence can be used in enforcing product cross selling and analyzing of marketing mix elements for profitability purposes. This research was aimed at exploring the effectiveness of Business Intelligence in strategic marketing to empower marketers and directors with the right information at the right time for subsequent decision making. It discusses in detail about how business intelligence could be used by marketers in order to carry out customers' segmentation for the purpose of understanding the customer better. This research also looked at the effectiveness of Business Intelligence in measuring the organization's performance and opportunities available in the market. The research depicts how Business Intelligence aids in exploring ways of increasing profitability through the use of information and analyzing the market potential in terms of sales forecasting. The research adopted a case study research design and primary data collection method through an interview guide. The researcher interviewed two executives from ARM Cement. Content analysis method was used to analyze the data collected from the respondents since it is qualitative in nature. The organization under study encountered the following problems in strategic marketing. Firstly, there was inaccurate, untimely and unreliable reporting. Secondly, the company adopted sales oriented strategies as opposed to marketing oriented strategies and finally, the organization's goals were not measured using information as a guide. Furthermore, the external environment is becoming more competitive through the entrants of new players in the market. Business Intelligence was recommended for effective strategic marketing in the organization to support timely, accurate and reliable reporting. Moreover, marketers would benefit from targeted marketing initiatives, efficient media selection and simplified analysis of Return on Investment. This could aid in achieving sustainable competitive advantage and attaining customer retention in the organization.