Marketers: data-driven approach will face obstacles in future

Marketers: data-driven approach will face obstacles in future

Although a large majority of marketers are confident in their ability to extract insights from data today an even greater number believe future improvements are being held back. That is according to new research by global marketing communications agency Allison+Partners, which surveyed the views of 500 marketing directors in the UK and Germany.

The study concludes that marketers have made excellent progress towards becoming more data-driven.

Key findings

  • The majority said their department's use of data was either somewhat or far above average (87%)
  • They are confident in their ability to extract insights from data (89%)
  • They can use data to prove ROI very or extremely well (72%).

Yet despite these findings and the vital role of data in marketing, the study revealed marketers are only scratching the surface on what data-driven approaches can do. For example, it found that one-fifth of respondents haven’t even invested in augmented or advanced data analytics yet, leaving valuable stones unturned when it comes to insight.

The obstacles revealed

Perhaps most worrying, however, was the finding that while marketers think they’re on top of their data-driven efforts now, nearly all respondents (98%) said there will be obstacles to making improvements moving forward.

The top three barriers to change cited by respondents were:

  1. Data silos
  2. Cost
  3. Talent

    Commenting on the research findings Sue Grant, Managing Director, Allison+Partners UK, said, “It’s fantastic to hear that marketing directors are confident in their ability to use data. But our research shows that the real story is more nuanced. What was pioneering five years ago in martech may not be serving the needs of the business any longer. With costs proving a concern, this means that marketing directors must invest smarter in any new technology or talent they bring on board. Clarifying the organisation’s goals and targets, as well as understanding what information and analysis is required to reach them, can help combat this issue.”

    Real desire to invest

    The survey found that although almost all marketers faced obstacles, the desire to overcome them is there. For example, it found that investment in AI to improve insights and support greater success in lead generation and loyalty is starting to take off. The findings show that seven in 10 marketing directors have made investments in AI-driven customer platforms and one in five plans to do so in the next two years.

    Targeting customers personally, sifting data mountains requires AI

    Commenting on this finding, Heike Schubert, General Manager, Allison+Partners Germany added, “With a lack of data skills being another concern, AI has a crucial role to play and it’s promising that the research shows investment in this technology is on the up. AI can sift through the mountains of data accumulated by marketing teams, automate routine processes to save time, as well as suggest the best ways to target customers on a more personalised level.”

    She said, “A lot of this technology is still in its infancy, but as it becomes more affordable, we can expect investment in both data analytics and AI to continue in an upward trajectory. That said, without a concerted effort by marketing directors to build a team that can use the technology to reach the ambitions of the organisation, then these investments will not be as fruitful as they could be.”