Gaining Meaningful Insights from Data is Still Hard. Why?

March 8, 2021

Merkle Challenges Gaining Insights from Data Mar2021Data has the potential to provide marketers with a wealth of meaningful information about prospects and customers – but only if that data is easily available and accessible. Half of the marketing, IT and martech professionals surveyed for a report [download page] from Merkle state that their organization’s data is not organized for easy consumption, making it the most common technical barrier to deriving meaningful insights.

Although the organization of data is the most common barrier, it’s not the only technical challenge organizations face. Storage comes up as a barrier, with 39% of respondents saying they have limited storage availability. Others say that current data analytics processes are too slow (38%).

While data is being used in decision-making most of the time by a majority of marketers, some 38% of organizations are still being hindered by the inability to understand what data is most important to decision-makers. They are also finding data integration difficult and time-consuming (38%), while 35% report that data is being stored in disparate systems.

Consolidating Customer Data

CRM is one of the most common technologies used by marketers, with 81% of US respondents reporting they have a CRM. Indeed, previous research shows that a majority of B2B marketers are using CRM to help drive revenue as well as for executing an integrated marketing strategy.

However, full maturity is a way off as some 4 in 10 (41%) don’t have a single customer profile, even though 9 in 10 (89%) agree that creating a consolidated customer profile is very or extremely important. And, although marketers believe that one of most important capabilities of a customer data platform is creating a single customer view across channels and devices, Merkle found that only two-thirds of organizations in the US have acquired this technology.

What’s Standing in the Way?

So, what might be behind this? For one thing, technology spend doesn’t seem to be a limiting factor. Some 38% of US respondents report allocating 21-25% of their marketing technology spend to identity-based solutions, while 27% allocate 16-20%.

Instead, it’s more likely to be a lack of expertise and skills. Data and analytics is not only currently a valued skillset but is expected to remain so in the future. Nonetheless, close to half (46%) of US respondents have run into a lack of data and analytics expertise within their organization when trying to implement a data and analytics solution.

Additionally, many have encountered limitations in gaining consensus among stakeholders (46%) or a lack of an agile implementation partner to support changing business and time to market requirements (44%).

Finally, despite IT no longer being a detractor to marketing, this Merkle report suggests IT is still more likely to be in control — finding that IT (56%) is more likely to than marketing (34%) to allocate more than 20% on martech spend to identity-based solutions.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 818 respondents in the UK and US who have Marketing, IT or Tech responsibilities, who take part in the decision-making process for marketing-related decisions, and who work at companies with at least $300 million in revenue.


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