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5 Takeaways from Gartner’s Marketing Analytics Survey

Brindley Mize

At this year’s 2018 Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, Research Director Lizzy Foo Kune shared a “state of the state” of marketing analytics. The data tells an interesting story of the progress made and challenges still ahead.  In 2017-18, 9.2% of marketing budgets were consumed by marketing analytics alone, the largest share in any category.  But, many marketing teams are finding analysts are still spending too much time wrangling data, rather than bringing together data-driven insights. 69% of marketers would have thought the majority of their marketing decisions would be driven by data by now, but are we quite there?

Gartner surveyed over 500 companies in the 2018 Marketing Analytics Survey to explore these pressing challenges and shed light on what worked for marketers who have successfully figured out how to use data and analytics as the driving force behind their marketing. Here is a sneak peek into the survey’s top 5 takeaways on the areas in progress, as well as the rooms for improvement.

1. Marketing teams continue to wrangle data
With the increasing growth of marketing teams, marketing analysts are still spending a majority of their time herding, manually integrating, and cleaning data. In 2016, the average “maturity” for marketers involved regular reporting on historical data. Currently, 66% of organizations’ analysts are spending less time on ad hoc reporting and using real-time dashboards to monitor and optimize their holistic multichannel marketing strategy. Looking forward, marketers are aspiring to be able to accomplish more customer-level personalization and targeting with data incorporated into all of the decision processes.

2. Top analyst talent can be better utilized
48% of marketing leaders declared that their top analysts are spending their time preparing the data to be analyzed, rather than actually analyzing it. Another 45% also say their data scientists and top analytics staff spend their time doing foundational activities including data visualization and data preparation. Key areas that marketers would like to improve upon are using data for competitive differentiation and a more consistent pipeline of insights.

3. Privacy is top of mind  
With the recent launch of GDPR, the modern way of data-driven marketing is changing with the new regulations on consumer privacy. The survey found that 73% of marketers are concerned with achieving the right balance of using data to improve the effectiveness of their touch-points in the customer journey while maintaining a barrier of safe customer data usage.

4. Need to demonstrate the value of analytics
Gartner asked their respondents what is standing in the way of the success of their marketing analytics team, and 38% said demonstrating the value of analytics. Being able to effectively communicate the ROI and value of data analytics is becoming more and more important with increasing analytics budgets and teams. It can be a challenge for many to justify their marketing spend when the ROI is not immediate and long-term planning is difficult with constant changes in the market.

5. Continuing to hire more resources
Despite the fact that survey respondents felt the majority of their company’s top data analysts are being underutilized, 77% of organizations still plan to hire more customer analytics and data scientist resources.  Growing teams have also created some growing pains.  39% of respondents said finding high-quality candidates for those positions is a pressing challenge.

Despite challenges, marketers are optimistic.  By 2020, 81% of marketers say the majority of their marketing decisions will be driven by data. These 5 key takeaways show there are still many questions marketers have when it comes to the right mix of people, process, and technology to scale insight and smarter decision making.  Marketing Intelligence platforms like Datorama have evolved to help marketers automate their most complex and time-consuming processes including data integration, data preparation, data modeling, visualization, and insight generation – so marketers can make optimization, insights, and intelligence an always-on capability for the business.  To learn more about Marketing Intelligence, visit our platform, solutions,  and customer case study resources.

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