Modern Marketers Are Nothing Without Data

By Harriet Durnford-Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Adverity

Why is it so hard to get data to work for marketers?

In order to move forward, oftentimes we have to look back at our previous work and evaluate where the successes and pain points were in order to create a better future. As marketers prepare to look back at 2021, my team at Adverity surveyed an array of marketers and analysts across the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany to garner a better understanding of their opinions on the past, present and future of marketing. The era of data-driven marketers is in full-swing but our State of Marketing Analytics 2022 survey found that we have not reached the fullest potential of marketing data.

Marketing departments are facing a delusion issue. Currently, 36% of marketers are uncertain on how to optimize the allocation of their marketing budget. However, it is not just knowing where to spend their budgets that is the problem, the way marketers are working with their data is a cause for even bigger concern.

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The number of marketing professionals I speak to, who are still using spreadsheets and manual data wrangling is shocking. This year, 61% of marketing teams state that they aim to implement predictive analytics, however even 38% of respondents who plan to implement predictive analytics are still struggling with manual data integration.

However, not only are marketers still struggling with manual data integration, more shockingly, out of the 41% who cited data wrangling as a key concern, fifty-three percent of respondents noted that they had a low level of trust in the data that they were publishing. Not only is the process of sifting through data to interpret an issue, but now we see that there is a risk that the final numbers lack trust.

The biggest message to any team is that the gap between marketers and analysts must be bridged.  Our survey found that overall, there is a lack of trust in data from both marketers and analysts, but analysts are far more worried about data accuracy than marketers. With 41% of analysts citing concern over inaccurate data, our team was shocked to see that on the marketing side this was ranked the lowest challenge being faced today. With data driving so many key decisions from the bottom of a business all the way to the top, it is crucial that analysts and marketers are on the same page in terms of data implications and accuracy.

Need For Real-Time Campaign Reporting

Another contender in the slew of uphill battles that marketers face is getting real-time insights into their campaigns. 41% of survey respondents cited manual data wrangling as a significant challenge. Given how much time and effort goes into combing through data, most only get to see insights about their campaigns weeks after they end. This lapse in time prevents marketers from being able to pivot or make campaign adjustments in real-time.

Additionally, our team found that there is a disconnect between campaign reporting and investment into strategic priorities. We found that 63% of CMOs say that they make strategic decisions based on data, but more than half of those also say they lack data-driven insights to drive marketing strategy. Beyond that, 49% say that they lack data-driven recommendations on how to improve marketing performance. After seeing our data, I was left wondering if this is due to the distrust in the data from marketers and analysts, or if this could be attributed to the C-suite’s lack of trust in the data received on campaign performance. The same distrust that we saw from marketers and analysts can be found among C-suite executives, but on a higher scale. Our survey found that 34% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lack trust in their organization’s data, compared to 51% of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) & Chief Data Officers (CDOs). Not only is the number on both sides high, but the disconnect between marketers and analysts at the c-suite level are alarming.

Implementing new technologies: Predictive Analytics 

Of the marketers and analysts we surveyed, half say they are currently using predictive analytics. What we’ve found is that these respondents are much more likely to have stronger strategic capabilities supporting a proactive marketing strategy.

 For marketers planning on implementing new technologies such as predictive analytics, campaign reporting is an absolute necessity. For example, respondents who have strong campaign reporting capabilities are twice as likely to be using predictive analytics than the respondents who say their campaign reporting needs improvement. Similarly, marketers and analysts who are good at campaign optimization are more than twice as likely to be using analytics.

What this tells us is that building out a strong set of marketing capabilities – particularly when it comes to reporting and optimization – will make the transition to using predictive analytics much more seamless.

The Key to 2022: Personalization

With the looming deprecation of third-party cookies as well as changing data privacy laws, many marketers are looking at alternative ways to gain first-party data, which will help them better understand their customers. This first-party data provides a crucial look into the wants and needs of consumers while maintaining their trust, as the data is only given with customer permission. Beyond that though, first party data also offers marketers the ability to personalize their campaigns.

This shift to focusing on first-party data that marketers expect to transition to offers up the ability to cater to their consumers more than ever before. Audience planning allows companies to market product to consumers based on things like their values, device ID numbers, previous purchases, etc. This new information will allow marketers to make critical campaign decisions – as long as that gap between marketers and analysts is bridged. To get the most from these insights, analysts will need to help provide real-time feedback to marketers.

What’s Next?

The biggest takeaway is that data is both available in greater quantities and more important than ever before for marketers. To truly be a modern marketer, you must utilize data and campaign feedback in real-time, with trust that the stats you have are accurate. More than that, as an industry we want to be data-driven, citing facts and hard numbers when we evaluate our campaign successes. Getting there is the challenge, especially with some of the roadblocks ahead. The most crucial next step is automation.

As the marketing industry works to improve the use of data and faster incorporation of feedback surrounding campaign reporting, the best advice I can offer modern marketers is to invest in the right technology.

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