CMOs Using Marketing Analytics Sparingly; Most Forgo Formal Evaluation of Quality

Duke-CMO-Survey-Marketing-Analytics-Trends-Aug2013Worsening trends for marketing analytics in the US, according to the latest CMO Survey [pdf] from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The percentage of projects estimated by CMOs to be using marketing analytics has dropped to 29% from 35% at this time last year, while two-thirds of CMOs now say their company doesn’t formally evaluate the quality of marketing analytics, up from 53.2% last year.

Another measure of marketing analytics’ influence is the degree to which its use contributes to company performance. And CMOs’ responses in this latest installment of the survey again show a declining trend: On a 7-point scale (with 7 being “very highly” and 1 “not at all”), CMOs gave analytics’ contribution a mean rating of 3.5, down from 3.7 in the February 2013 survey and 3.9 in the August 2012 survey.

Currently, analytics are most commonly being used to drive decision-making in the areas of customer acquisition (31.7%), digital marketing (28.5%) and customer retention (27.6%), per the study.

CMOs indicated that they infrequently leverage marketing analytics to answer their most challenging marketing questions. More than 1 in 8 said they weren’t leveraging analytics any of the time to answer such questions, compared to just 4.3% saying they do so all the time. (The mean rating was 3.7 on the 7-point scale, with 7 referring to use “all of the time.”)

Numerous studies (such as this one) have highlighted the difficulties marketers are facing when looking for the right talent for data analysis, and CMOs’ responses support those findings. On a 7-point scale (7=has the right talent), almost 4 in 10 respondents rated their company’s analytics talent as a 1 (12.9%) or 2 (25.4%).

Despite all their struggles, CMOs believe they’ll spend more money on analytics over the next few years, even if they’ve become slightly less bullish on this front. Currently, they report spending 5.5% of their budgets on analytics (down from 5.5% in February), while planning to devote 8.7% of their budgets to analytics in the next 3 years (down from 10%).

About the Data: The CMO Survey is conducted online twice a year. The latest survey was fielded from July 16 to August 6, 2013. The survey had 410 respondents, of whom 93% were VP level or above.