Marketing leaders remain optimistic about the potential for marketing analytics, despite its inability so far to live up to expectations.

Although chief marketing officers (CMOs) have increased spending on marketing data and analytics in recent years, many feel it has not had the impact they expected. Only 54% of CMOs surveyed say their decisions are influenced by marketing analytics, reveals the 2020 Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey.

Still, 44% of respondents expect their analytics team size to grow over the next two years in an effort to influence more business outcomes and support more advanced analytics capabilities. In addition, 85% feel that by 2022, “significantly more” of their organization’s marketing decisions will be based on marketing analytics.

“Though CMOs understand the importance of applying analytics throughout the marketing organization, many struggle to quantify the relationship between insights gathered and their company’s bottom line,” says Lizzy Foo Kune, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. Nearly half of CMOs surveyed said they can’t measure marketing ROI. That inability tarnishes the perceived value of the analytics team, Kune says.

Why don’t CMOs rely more on marketing analytics to reach decisions? Survey respondents cited:

  • poor data quality,
  • inactionable results,
  • lack of clear recommendations, and
  • data findings that conflict with intended plans.

How to Gain More from Marketing Analytics

Gartner offers these recommendations to gain the full value of marketing analytics:

Invest in skill development. Only 23% of respondents say they prioritize skill development, ranking lowest among of all analytics activities. Analytics teams are deprioritizing skill development when it may be needed most.

Prioritize investments. Prioritize investments in marketing analytics activities where your team experiences the largest perceived gaps in importance versus effectiveness.

Beware of confirmation bias. Marketing leaders often seek data that supports a desired course of action or to show the value of their program. But data that conflicts with a planned course of action is valuable and presents an opportunity to apply controversial findings through experimentation, Kune says.

More Recommendations for Marketing Analytics

Marketing measurement experts also offer further advice:

Anticipate questions executives will ask. In addition to wanting to know what happened, business executives want to know why things happened. They seek patterns. They want to know what they should do. They want solutions.

Build tools, dashboards and workflows to generate deep insights and action-orientated recommendations, not just the answer to the immediate question.

Take steps to clean up data. Corrupted, or “dirty data,” can produce findings that are irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong for a variety of reasons. Clean data is essential to obtain accurate and meaningful insights and recommendations.

Concentrating less on data and more on context helps uncover actionable insights to obtain the full benefit from social media listening. In other words, business managers must think more like an anthropologist.

Seek established data collection and analytics vendors, such as reputable social media analytics firms. Despite current budget pressures, it’s often more cost-effective to work with established marketing measurement services than to keep the work in-house.

Bottom Line: Many top marketing executives are disappointed that marketing data analytics have not yet impacted their business decisions for the better. CMOs can improve the value of data analytics by adopting proven methodologies.

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