When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
A new survey claims few c-level executives are basing strategic decisions on marketing data because they fail to demonstrate effectiveness.
According to the joint VisionEdge Marketing, ITSMA and Forrester Research 2013 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey, just nine per cent of CEOs and six per cent of CFOs leverage marketing data for strategic planning. The report claims the reason is because marketing dashboards focus on marketing activity instead of business outcomes and don’t illustrate how marketing fosters topline growth or profitability.
Most marketing dashboards usually focus on operational efficiencies such as on-time delivery, budget, productivity, campaign performance and lead data. In contrast, c-level executives are looking for results that highlight the effectiveness of activity and programs as well as metrics helping them make strategic recommendations.
The new report also found 54 per cent of marketers use data analytics to fine-tune the marketing mix but that just 35 per cent on average using data analytics to predict customer behaviour, make strategic recommendations, drive innovation or impact customer acquisitions, retention or growth. These are the types of measures however, business executives want to see.
The survey took into account responses from more than 400 respondents and is in its 12th year.
“The data demonstrates how marketers rely too much on their CRM and marketing automation systems to produce dashboards or report on marketing results,” Forrester vice-president and principal analyst serving CMOs, Laura Ramos, said. “These systems are fine for providing a view into marketing program activity and pipeline, but the research shows most fail to produce the level of information and metrics that business executives want to see.”
Overall, 27 per cent of c-level executives surveyed gave their marketers an ‘A’ grade, on par with last year’s report findings, while 38 per cent received a ‘B’ and 29 per cent a ‘C’. According to the report, those marketers with the highest grade are better at using data and analytics in general, but all groups primarily use data and analytics to report on past performance rather than information that supports future decisions.