Analytics is one of the hottest buzzwords in the Marketing world these days, and software to help marketers understand this data is superabundant. The results of the 2015 CMO Survey are thoroughly surprising; according to the survey, many companies struggle to use marketing analytics, and analytics usage is fairly infrequent.
The CMO Survey is conducted by Duke University in conjunction with the American Marketing Association, and predicts that marketing budgets will increase in the next few years, mostly due to added spending on marketing analytics. Currently an average 6.4% of marketing budgets is earmarked for analytics; that is expected to grow to 11.7% by 2018. Simultaneously, the percentage of projects using analytics has actually decreased: down to 22% from 27% in 2012. Marketing leaders reported that analytics had a lower contribution to their work, and that most of the data that was gathered went unused.
Reasons cited for this lack of analytics usage was: “marketing analytics do not offer sufficient insight,” “do not arrive when needed,” “are overly complex, “ and “are not highly relevant to our decisions.” Even when particular analytics were deemed “insightful,” however, they were only used 33% of the time they were available (in contrast to 22% when deemed not insightful). Interestingly, complexity and timing had no concrete variety on usage levels.
This tells us the main issue is the relationship between the data and the marketer. In many companies, analysts work separately from managers, and neither party is thinking of the whole picture: analysts can be too focused on the numbers to consider marketing strategy, and managers often don’t know enough about how the data is laid out to ask productive questions.
There is no question that in the digital age, analytics provide invaluable insight. Looking beyond the confines of one’s job title is necessary to catapult hard data into meaningful marketing strategy. Perhaps, as marketing analytics become more ubiquitous, small companies who do not divide into departments will have the upper hand.