Marketing Analytics Benchmarks, Insights and Advice

Jerry Rackley's picture
Jerry Rackley
Jerry Rackley wrote:
Demand Metric recently published the results of its recently completed study on marketing analytics, Marketing Analytics 2013:  Benchmarks, Insight and Advice.  Some of you will recall being asked to participate in the survey that provided the primary data for this study.  Over 700 of our members did take the survey, and it provided us with a rich data set to analyze.
The study results show that most of us agree on the intrinsic value of marketing analytics, whether or not we have figured out how to use them effectively. A full 92 percent of responses acknowledge that marketing analytics are important for managing marketing processes, demonstrating value or improving marketing’s credibility.
Some of the results were not a huge surprise, while still managing to present us with a paradox or two:
  • Large organizations are having more marketing analytics success than SMBs.  Yet, small organizations ascribe more credibility to their marketing analytics than do large ones.
  • Those who are allocating greater portions of marketing budgets are getting more from their analytics initiatives.  Yet, just eight percent of companies are investing at a level that is producing the greatest impact.
  • The study also reveals that almost everyone is struggling to some extent:  94 percent of respondents are experiencing challenges when it comes to marketing analytics.  Those challenges range from skills to resources to buy-in.  Small companies report a different top challenge than large companies.
The most interesting revelation from this study is the divergence of opinion between the organization’s leaders – CEOs, presidents, SVPs and business owners – and the marketers who serve them.   For example, the folks in the corner office have a significantly higher opinion of the credibility of marketing analytics data than do members of the marketing organization.  Likewise, regarding transparency and sharing of data – the C-suite had a much higher estimation of success than did their marketing teams.  When it comes to the challenge of identifying and tracking meaningful analytics – the C-suite respondents recognized this as a far greater challenge than the marketing teams did.
Why this divergence, which in many ways is troubling?  The data doesn’t tell us, so we can only speculate. The practical reality is that our bosses and we marketers don’t always speak the same language.  We say brand equity, they say bottom line.  Terms with which we’re intimately familiar have no meaning to executives.  They simply can’t connect what we’re doing to something that matters to them.
It’s my opinion that these results also reflect a cultural barrier that affects marketing analytics, and many other aspects of the relationship between marketing and the CEO.  I believe that organizations where trust, empowerment and good communication exists between these groups, marketing analytics are playing a key role in driving and measuring results.  Conversely, where there is friction, distrust or poor communication between marketing and the C-suite, I suspect if marketing analytics are used at all, they are used punitively.
As marketers, this study is telling us that our bosses view marketing analytics data as credible.  Our task is to better leverage the credibility of this data to improve how marketing communicates with our organization’s leadership.  Marketers who do this best will first understand that marketing analytics is as much about communications as it is about calculations.
Get a copy of Marketing Analytics 2013:  Benchmarks, Insights and Advice and let us know what conclusions you draw from it.
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Resource Reference 

A benchmarking study, with 622 respondents, to examine how marketing analytics is being adopted, adding value, and becoming integrated into overall marketing strategy.