Marketers are placing increasing emphasis on data, analytics and metrics to drive successful programs. In fact, 46% of marketing leaders saw an increased need for data and analytics expertise during the past 12 months and 43% expect to see an increase in the coming months, according to a recent State of Marketing Leadership report.
The Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing survey found that the third most pressing business challenge on the mind of marketers this year is keeping up with current marketing technologies and trends and 54% of marketers name marketing analytics as one of the most critical technologies to ensuring a cohesive customer journey. While most companies admit that they haven’t fully integrated customer data across the organization, according to the State of Leadership survey, 97% of companies who have focused on data integration feel they are now creating successful, cohesive customer journeys—a key initiative in recent years according to both Gartner and Forrester.
It’s no wonder 25% of respondents to the State of Marketing survey consider integrating marketing tools/systems to be a top challenge for this year. The need for focused data that will empower more personalized messaging is evidenced in several items on the list of top challenges for 2015:
- Building deeper customer relationships – 22%
- Creating a personalized-cross channel experience – 22%
- Using existing data to drive more relevant messages and experiences – 21%
- Understanding what data to analyze – 20%
Enhancing the Customer Experience
Data and analytics that lead to better customer experiences are clearly top of mind for many marketers. So what’s the hold up? Why are companies still struggling to create more personalized messaging and improve the customer journey? Moving to data-driven marketing is a process shift that requires new skills and, in some cases, new software for better data integration and improved insights. An article by MarketingProfs pinpoints data management, advanced analytics, process and skill as some of the top hang-ups for teams trying to embrace data-driven marketing.
Doing it with Data
Despite these challenges, companies should make data a key driver behind all their marketing efforts. As an increasing number of initiatives and channels compete for marketing dollars—spend on digital, mobile, social and direct marketing are all expected to increase depending on which study you read—relying on data to show you what is working is an easy way to make better decisions going forward. And most marketers get this.
According to a survey by Forbes and Turn, 71% of marketers expect to increase their reliance on data and analytics when it comes to decision making over the next three years, leading to an anticipated increase in spending on data analytics by 60% of respondents. Only 2% of marketers expect to decrease their reliance on data. This insight is going to be increasingly important as organizations put pressure on marketing teams to tie revenue to programs and prove marketing ROI.
With so many channels and messages competing for a consumers’ attention (be it in the B2C or B2B space), marketing teams cannot afford to fly blind and make uneducated decisions. Marketing is currently in a transition state. Most companies understand that they need to embrace data-driven marketing and put that information to work, but not many have fully achieved this goal. The next few years will see dedicated teams who take a careful look at their programs, software and goals pull ahead and become data-driven marketing leaders, which in turn will help them create more meaningful customer journeys.