CMOs’ Use of Analytics Registers Uptick

September 8, 2017

CMOs are using analytics a little more than in the past and crediting analytics with a slightly greater contribution to company performance, according to the latest edition of The CMO Survey [pdf]. Respondents to the survey reported 37.5% of projects using marketing analytics before a decision was made.

While that’s still seemingly low, it’s the highest figure registered going back at least as far as early 2013.

Part of the problem may be that the use of analytics hasn’t generated actionable insights. In a recent study, Econsultancy and Lynchpin found that only around 40% of analytics data is useful for driving decision-making. That’s troubling, as survey research also finds that the most important objective of data-driven marketing is to make more decisions based on data analysis.

For the time being, analytics is being most commonly used for customer acquisition and digital marketing, with roughly 37% of companies using analytics in each of those decision areas. By contrast, analytics solutions have yet to make as many inroads in determining promotion strategies and the marketing mix, according to The CMO Survey results. That latter result is puzzling, given separate research suggesting that one of the key perceived benefits of analytics is to help identify the marketing channel that provides the most ROI.

Still, analytics are contributing a little to company performance, CMOs say. Asked to rate analytics’ contribution on a 7-point scale, respondents averaged 3.9 – which is to say, a little more than middling. Once again, that 3.9 figure was a survey high, though only marginally higher than previous scores.

Staffing may be playing a role: in comparison to the same survey fielded 4 years ago, CMOs seem more confident that they have the right talent in place to fully leverage marketing analytics.

Alongside improvement in the use and contribution of analytics is a slight gain in the share of CMOs who are able to demonstrate the impact of their marketing quantitatively. In this latest survey, 39.5% said they could prove the short-term impact of their marketing spending quantitatively (up from 36.3% in August 2013), while 38.2% said they could do so for the long-term impact of their spending (up from 31.7% in August 2013).

It remains to be seen if this uptick in analytics use turns into a trend…

About the Data: The CMO Survey is fielded biennially and is sponsored by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association, and Deloitte. This latest edition – the 19th – is based on 349 top US marketers at for-profit companies, 92% of whom are VP-level and above. The survey was fielded from July 18 – August 8, 2017.

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