Gone are the days when marketers make decisions without the data to back it up. According to Gartner’s 2015 Data-Driven Marketing Survey results, a full 69% of marketers say the majority of their decisions will be quantitatively driven by 2017. They are substantiating this with analytic staff and external experts. In fact, of the 252 digital marketers they surveyed, on average their companies employ 22 marketing analytics staffers (two-thirds plan to hire more) and reported that 27% of the analytics budget goes to outside experts.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that creatives need to worry for their jobs. We will still need great storytelling (including more visuals than ever), but it does mean that if you aren’t focused on getting great marketing-specific analytics, you need to be.
The survey showed that B2B respondents outspend B2C on marketing analytics by 45% vs 26%. They also report that B2B are more likely to employ advanced analytics techniques, as B2Bs seem to have a higher analytic maturity model than their B2C counterparts. Why? According to Gartner, this may be because B2C tends to be very high volume, widely dispersed and anonymous, whereas B2B typically deals with identified individuals and a deeper, more manageable set of sources. B2Cs need to be sure their data is doing all it can for them including speaking to ROI and testing and scenarios.
Gartner’s survey showed that analytics centers of excellence are thriving, as 60% of the respondents said they plan to have one in two years, which is up from 36% today. This means more centralized data and analysis for marketers and a single source to turn to for numbers. Why the focus? Respondents said they see a clear need for a formal team to implement, train, govern and evangelize analytics best practices within their organizations. One-third have a COE today.
With all the focus on analytics, it was surprising to find that marketing departments influence analytics software strategy, but still do not dominate purchase decisions. Instead, IT still leads purchasing. This is perhaps because IT is the steward of an organization’s systems and data infrastructure. But what it tells us is that marketers need to focus on creating collaborative, agile, cross-functional teams that understand IT’s and procurements pain and concerns, to have the best chance at gaining a bigger stake in the purchasing decision. Why does this matter?
Too often, generic BI platforms, or those that are customized by IT for marketing do not truly meet the expectations and demands that marketing has now (more on this here). As marketing analytics mature and marketers move toward relying exclusively on the data to make better decisions that impact the business, having a data management, reporting and visualization tool that is built and designed specifically for marketing will become increasingly important. Building strong relationships with IT and spending time to educate and learn about each other’s concerns and needs is a first step toward ensuring that your analytics platform will be the right one for you.