US CMOs Still Report Making Little Use of Marketing Analytics

DukeCMOSurvey-Share-Budget-Spend-Marketing-Analytics-Feb2015US CMOs remain bullish about marketing analytics spending but appear to be failing to keep pace with their own projections, according to the latest installment of the CMO Survey [pdf] from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Indeed, while CMOs expect to almost double the share of their budgets spent on marketing analytics over the next 3 years (from 6.4% to 11.7%), current levels of spending are actually down.

Looking at the past 4 years’ worth of surveys (limited to those released in February), the data shows that estimated current levels of spending were:

  • 6.4% of budgets this year;
  • 7.1% of budgets last year;
  • 6% of budgets in 2013; and
  • 5.7% of budgets in 2012.

For what it’s worth, CMOs surveyed in February 2012 anticipated allocating 9.1% share of their marketing budgets to marketing analytics in 3 years’ time (now).

It may well be that this edition’s estimate represents an outlier (particularly as other research has shown marketing analytics to be an important future spending area), or that spending is actually growing due to higher budgets.¬†However other results from the survey show that¬†fewer projects are making use of analytics. Overall, CMOs reported that just 29% of projects used available or requested marketing analytics, down from 32.5% a year earlier and representing the lowest figure since August 2013.


Moreover, the reported contribution of marketing analytics is not only still low, but also not improving. On a 7-point scale (where 7 represents very high contribution to performance and 1 no contribution at all), CMOs rated marketing analytics’ contribution to performance at an average of 3.2, the lowest figure since the question was first asked in August 2012.

To top it off, 7 in 10 CMOs said they do not formally evaluate the quality of marketing analytics. That figure has also not improved in the past 3 years, as two-thirds did not evaluate the quality back in February 2012.

Still, those averages mask some hefty differences when sorting by firm type, particularly among B2C companies:

  • B2C product companies were more than twice as likely as B2C service firms to report formally evaluating the quality of marketing analytics (40.5% vs. 16.7%);
  • Product companies were also far more likely to report using marketing analytics (in 46.9% of projects vs. 30.6%); and
  • They reported a greater contribution from marketing analytics (4.2 vs. 3.5 on a 7-point scale).

(There was no clear trend when sorting B2B respondents into company types.)

But while B2C product companies appear the most adept at using marketing analytics, there’s one other confounding result: these companies showed the biggest drop in estimated spending levels year-over-year, from 9.9% share of budgets last year to 6.8% this year.

It will be interesting to see what the next installment of the survey shows…

About the Data: The CMO Survey is conducted online twice a year. The latest survey was fielded from January 13 to February 3, 2015. The survey had 288 respondents, of whom 84% were VP level or above.