Data promise outpaces reality as marketers struggle with financial proof

New report of client-side senior marketers by eConsultancy and Tealium finds fewer than 20 per cent have a strong capbility to view and use data from their marketing channel applications

The promise of data is outpacing the reality for marketers as many continue to struggle to achieve a unified data-driven marketing approach that can be linked to financial outcomes, a new report claims.

The Path to Unified Marketing report, which was produced by eConsultancy in association with tag management vendor, Tealium, found less than 20 per cent of client-side marketers surveyed have a strong capability in viewing and using data from their marketing channel applications.

Top obstacles for achieving unified marketing vision included a lack of data tools and proficiency in using them, as well as obtaining sufficient budget to ‘do things right’. Nearly three quarters of respondents, for example, said they experienced data fragmentation, with over half suffering from ‘blind spots’ in the data related to specific applications and/or processes.

In addition, the report found the top strategic priority for marketers from a pre-defined list of seven focus areas was proving the value of marketing activities with financial outcomes. This was closely followed by achieving a single view of the customer and marketing data. Third on the list was advanced marketing automation efforts.

Related: Report: Accountability key to marketing's influence in business

Across the board, the average rating respondents gave their organisation for their ability to turn data into useful information or action was 4.6 out of 10. The report is based on surveys of 313 senior marketers during April and May.

“Technology has moved marketing past the point where volume is the principle challenge,” the report authors stated. “Processing speeds and cheap storage mean that we can store all the data we want, but haven’t solved the problem of marketing that data easy to use.”

In an indication of the desire to get on top of the data integration challenge, the majority of respondents said they either have a plan to consolidate data or are already doing this.

Not surprisingly, organisations with more sophisticated unification initiatives were found to be better at using data to associate marketing with financial results, as well as turning data into insights and actions. They also have an edge in terms of getting management buy-in, and predicting the timetables and budgets for projects.

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