Marketing Analytics Only Influences 53 Percent of Decisions
Marketing analytics are responsible for influencing just slightly more than half (53 percent) of marketing decisions, limiting executives’ ability to prove the value of their efforts, according to research from Gartner.
The survey found that the quantity of marketing decisions influenced by analytics does matter. Organizations that report marketing analytics influence fewer than 50 percent of decisions are more likely to have difficulty proving the value of marketing. Once marketing analytics teams cross that 50 percent threshold, there are likely diminishing returns to striving to increase the quantity of decisions influenced.
In addition, roughly a quarter of respondents said that decision makers do not review the information provided by the marketing analytics team (26 percent), reject their recommendations (24 percent), or rely on gut instincts to ultimately make their choices (24 percent).
Because of this, Gartner expects 60 percent of chief marketing officers to slash the size of their marketing analytics departments in half by next year because of failed promised improvements, according to Joseph Enever, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.
Consumers of marketing analytics continue to cite evergreen data management challenges—notably the inconsistency of the data across sources and the ability to access it—as the top reasons for not using analytics when making decisions.
Marketing organizations regularly respond to these challenges by integrating more data or acquiring different technology seen as a fix-all approach to marketing data management, yet they fail to realize tangible impacts on key outcomes, according to Enever. For example, marketers experience diminishing marginal returns on data integration when pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer.
“CMOs often believe that achieving marketing data integration goals will lead to greater influence and increased value of marketing analytics,” Enever says. “The reality is that better data won’t increase marketing analytics’ decision influence alone. CMOs must address the real challenges—cognitive biases and the need for a data-informed culture.”
Barriers to using marketing analytics in decision making are not always caused by data integration challenges unique to marketing, according to the research. Rather, much of this boils down to people and/or process problems.
For instance, key cognitive biases are at the root of marketing analytics’ influence plateau. One-third of respondents reported that decision makers cherry-pick data to try to tell a story that aligns with their preconceived decision or opinion.
CMOs, Gartner advises, must address these challenges by doing the following:
• Tracking the decisions that are made based on analytics to provide a current state of view and areas to improve. Identify examples of marketing analytics work that provided actionable recommendations to a marketing campaign or program. Marketing leaders should encourage their teams to look for patterns in decision-making habits and to document the types of decisions they influence.
• Combatting cherry-picking. Set metrics before launching new campaigns or marketing strategies, not after the data has already started to come in.
• Encouraging senior leaders to set an example. Avoid being a HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) and actually allow data to inform or change decisions.
• Establishing analytics upskilling programs that account for differing workflows and resource constraints across the marketing organization. Build personas that detail how different employees need to use data in their roles and prioritize training sessions that best enable participants to learn the skills they need to perform their jobs.