Survey: Marketers Love Data … But Aren’t Using It

A new survey of marketing executives has just revealed a huge disconnect when it comes to their analytics operations.

According to the latest CMO Survey from the American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business:

Marketers plan to spend a LOT more on marketing analytics. Right now, about 4.6 percent of the average marketing budget goes to data. And the survey’s respondents said they plan to boost that number to nearly 22 percent in three years. That’s a 376 percent increase!

But marketers are struggling to use their data. Companies consult their marketing data only 31.2 percent of the time when they need to make a decision. The results are a little higher for B2C companies: Data is consulted 38.5 percent of the time by companies selling B2C services and 33.2 percent for B2C products.

Why Marketers Are Struggling With Data

To recap: Marketers know analytics is valuable, and they want to invest more in it. But they aren’t using this game-changing resource nearly as much as they should.

If that sounds crazy, there are actually two logical reasons why so many marketers are stuck in this situation.

  • They don’t have the right tools or processes for measuring their media data — or even judging what success looks like.
  • They don’t have people who can perform technical data management and who can apply data to business questions and marketing strategy. We call these folks “unicorns,” and they are damn hard to find.

The good news is neither of these obstacles are impossible to overcome. We know because, 10 years ago, we experienced the exact same challenges as these respondents.

How We Solved The Problem

Alight Analytics responded by developing a four-part framework, what we call the 4 Ps of marketing analytics success: platform, people, process and plan.

Platform: This is the technology that you use to gather, consolidate, store, analyze and report marketing data.

Our platform is ChannelMix, the first data aggregation engine designed for marketers, by marketers. It brings together media data from web analytics, display ads, email campaigns, traditional media, pay-per-click and many, many other channels. That perfected data can then be used to create reports in Tableau, Excel or your tool of choice.

People: To reap the full benefits of data-driven marketing, you’re going to need people who can wrangle APIs, write code, apply your data to real-world marketing problems and deliver strategic, impactful recommendations. “Perfect, I’ll hire a marketing analyst,” you think to yourself. That’s what we thought, too.

However, one of our company’s breakthroughs came when we realized it was smarter to hire data people to do data and marketing people to do marketing. That way, you’re not forced to find “unicorns” who can do everything.

In fact, you might be better off outsourcing those functions. For example, when our clients subscribe to ChannelMix, they automatically get a team of marketing data technologists who will handle the technical work of setting up and managing their data aggregation. ChannelMix then hands clients a perfected dataset that their in-house analysts can use for reporting.

Or they can hire Alight’s team of marketing experts to create illuminating dashboards and help them uncover opportunities in their marketing data.

Process: Not to brag, but we’ve been doing this for longer than just about anyone else in this industry. And that means we’ve had longer to develop a time-tested, proven process for collecting, storing and interpreting media data.

Plan: But, while it’s good to have a tested process built on sound principles, you also need to develop a specific plan tailored to your particular company or client. You need a data strategy that answers your most pressing business questions.

As the CMO Survey shows, the frustration over marketing analytics is real and understandable. But don’t give up: There is a way to leverage your data for more powerful business results.

Looking for a better solution for managing your marketing data? Do you need an expert guide to the possibilities lurking in your data? Let’s talk.