Published on November 9, 2023, 6:12 am

CMOs often believe that achieving marketing data integration goals will lead to greater influence and increased value of marketing analytics. However, Joseph Enever, sr director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice, points out that better data alone won’t increase the decision influence of marketing analytics. CMOs need to address cognitive biases and the need for a data-informed culture.

According to a Gartner survey conducted between May and June 2022, marketing analytics influences 53% of marketing decisions. The study also found that the number of decisions influenced by analytics is significant. Organizations reporting that marketing analytics influence less than 50% of decisions are more likely to struggle with proving the value of their marketing efforts.

Interestingly, once marketing analytics teams cross the threshold of influencing 50% of decisions, striving to increase the number further may result in diminishing returns. As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2023, 60% of CMOs will cut their marketing analytics department size in half due to unmet expectations.

There are several barriers identified when it comes to the influence of marketing analytics. One major challenge is inconsistent data across sources and difficulty in accessing data. Many organizations respond to these challenges by integrating more data or acquiring different technology under the assumption that it will solve all their data management issues. However, tangible impacts on key outcomes are not always realized.

A prime example is pursuing a “360-degree view” of the customer through data integration. Marketers often experience diminishing marginal returns as they try to collect every piece of customer information available.

It’s important to note that barriers related to marketing analytics’ use in decision-making are not solely caused by unique data integration challenges specific to marketing. People and process problems also play a significant role. For instance, cognitive biases can hinder the influence of marketing analytics. A third of respondents admit that decision-makers cherry-pick data trying to support their preconceived opinions or choices.

Furthermore, a quarter of respondents indicate that decision-makers either overlook the information provided by the marketing analytics team, reject their recommendations, or heavily rely on gut instincts to make decisions.

To overcome these challenges, Gartner suggests implementing certain measures. Tracking decisions made based on analytics helps provide a current view and identifies areas for improvement. Finding examples where marketing analytics have provided actionable recommendations is also crucial in highlighting the value they bring to campaigns and programs.

Combatting cherry-picking can be achieved by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics before launching a new campaign or marketing strategy, rather than defining them after receiving data.

Additionally, senior leaders should lead by example and avoid becoming a “HiPPO” (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), allowing data to inform or change decisions.

Furthermore, organizations should establish analytics upskilling programs that address different workflows and resource constraints across the marketing department. Building personas detailing how employees need to use data in their roles can help prioritize training sessions that enable participants to acquire the skills necessary for their jobs.

In conclusion, while achieving marketing data integration goals is essential for effective marketing analytics, it is crucial to address cognitive biases and foster a data-informed culture. By overcoming barriers such as inconsistent data and people/process-related issues, organizations can harness the full potential of marketing analytics and make informed decisions that drive business success.


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