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When it comes to marketing data and technology strategy priorities, getting a handle of the latest tools such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence is of limited importance, despite their potential benefits. Instead, the main priority for data and technology is to use analytics for decision-making, according to new research from Ascend2 [download page].

That echoes a similar study released last year by Ascend2, in which marketers said that the most important objective of data-driven marketing was to base more decisions on data.

In this latest survey, analytics-driven decision-making was again the top data priority. Other important priorities included improving data quality and accuracy and integrating data across more technologies.

Of those priorities, integrating data across more technologies proves to be the most challenging, per the survey’s respondents – even more so than using analytics for decision-making. That’s surprising given other indications that companies are still struggling to derive strategic insights from their data, despite having access to more useful data than ever.

Then again, there’s virtually no possibility of putting data to use if marketers can’t first integrate their different sources of data. Marketers have complained that difficulties unifying different data sources, along with poorly integrated marketing technology have hampered their efforts to build a joined-up view of the customer journey.

These troubles are brought to light in the Ascend2 study in a question specifically about data integration: only half say they’re acting on data integration across marketing technologies. For the rest, this is only a topic of discussion, or nothing is being done at all.

Nonetheless, respondents seem very confident about their efforts: about 8 in 10 see their marketing data and technology strategies as being successful, and a similar proportion feel that their data is at least of somewhat good quality and accuracy.

As for the types of marketing data used, marketers unsurprisingly see internal sources (sales & customer service, followed by marketing program data) as their most effective. The most difficult source of data to obtain, per respondents, is social networks and public data.

The full survey results can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The results are based on a global survey of 233 marketing influencers, the majority (73%) of whom come from companies with at least 50 employees. Respondents were fairly evenly split between B2B (42%) and B2C companies (37%), with the remainder coming from companies targeting B2B and B2C equally.

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