Marketing analytics is a complex and rapidly changing industry. From data collection and storage all the way through reporting, deeper analytics, and prediction, having a solid data strategy is critical to marketing success and brand growth. In working with stakeholders at leading brands every day, wrestling with big (marketing) data challenges, we’ve seen five trends that we predict will change the marketing analytics landscape in 2018.
Major enterprises are realizing that solving one-off data problems is inefficient while building a sustainable, side-to-side solution requires cross-functional collaboration. That means we’ll see the creation of more Centers of Excellence (COE), pulling in representation from marketing, IT, business intelligence teams, agencies and other external partners and more. With sponsorship from the CMO, CEO or CIO, marketing Centers of Excellence will be responsible for delivering an enterprise-wide data architecture, governance, and best practices to the organization.
Data operations is not just for B2B marketers anymore. As COEs are formed to build a sophisticated, comprehensive data model, the need for data operations in consumer-facing brands is also growing. B2B marketers have long depended on the Data Operations function, with highly layered and complex data and demands for data access across the organization. While COE’s are building the well, Data Operations will to build pipes, hand out cups and maintain the infrastructure. More data than ever is flowing into and around the marketing org and it informs everything we do, so we expect Data Operations to become a critical function for B2C marketing orgs in 2018. Marketing data is moving out of the hands of a few power users, and into the hands of day-to-day practitioners. Finally, the full marketing org can access instant answers to business questions and make timely decisions to grow their brands.
Most large enterprises have a full service business intelligence team. And until now, those teams have largely stayed out of marketing data lane and remained focused on operations, finance, sales, supply chain, and other functions. We predict that business intelligence teams will dive into marketing analytics in a big way in 2018. Major enterprises are learning that the big data problem is largely a big marketing data problem. As touch points and channels are grow at an exponential rate, businesses house more data about their customers than ever before. So, BI will turn their heads towards marketing data and weave it into deeper business analysis.
Data breaches at companies of all sizes have become big news in recent years, driven by the large amount of personal data now available to corporate systems. Governments are looking strongly at privacy regulations such as Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation shows. In 2018, we expect to see IT hold marketing to tighter compliance standards. For years, many marketing organizations have used specialized systems and technologies to manage and use marketing data. Looking forward, marketing tools and technologies will be held to the same data governance and security standards as the rest of the business.
As marketers build integrated, comprehensive data infrastructure, external partners (agencies, media partners, etc) will be pressured to transfer data ownership to brands. To keep pace, we expect agencies to promise more reporting and analytics to stay relevant. For decades, agencies have delivered disparate, flat reports with long delays and big price tags. Now, brands are bringing data in-house to enable cross-channel insights and analysis. Agencies will push back with promises of faster reporting, more metrics and deeper analysis. While that will be valuable, it should not replace a company’s internal analytics efforts. Instead, give agencies a seat in the Center of Excellence and hold them to agreed upon data standards. This will build stronger partnerships and spark deeper discussions on how to improve performance without sacrificing data ownership.