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Marketing technology users are “split down the middle” about the value they’re deriving from their solutions regarding optimal use of audience data. That’s according to an IAB and Winterberry Group survey [pdf] of 113 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers and marketing service providers primarily based in North America.

Respondents – who have a high degree of knowledge with respect to data and its various marketing applications – were asked to rate their confidence in current marketing technologies in terms of their suitability to support the optimal use of data.

On a 5-point scale, almost half (46.5%) of respondents rated their confidence a middling 3. And the remaining respondents were slightly more likely to rate their confidence on the lower end of the scale (1-2: 29.6%) as the higher end (4-5: 23.9%).

The resulting index score of 2.93 on a 5-point scale represents a moderate degree of confidence at best.

Which Technology Features Are Most Important?

Marketing technology users envision two main features as being most important in supporting organizations’ efforts to achieve value from their future use of data.

The first of those is predictive analytics and modeling, cited by almost half (49%) of respondents.

There seems to be a growing chorus of optimism about the role that predictive analytics can play:

Meanwhile, the second feature in the IAB and Winterberry Group study – that joins predictive analytics at the top of the list of most important – is cross-channel measurement and channel attribution. This has jumped to the equal top spot, with roughly 25% more respondents citing this year than last.

The increased focus on cross-channel measurement this year makes sense in light of separate survey results, in which viewability and measurement emerged as the biggest industry concern for both brands and agencies heading into 2018.

Another feature gaining in importance for marketing technology users this year is data processing and hygiene. The increased attention to data hygiene comes at a time when US organizations believe that one-third of their customer and prospect data is inaccurate.

Third-Party Partners Can Help

The study indicates that marketing technology users see a few different ways to improve how they use their solutions to optimize the use of audience data. These range from formalizing an ongoing technology assessment function to developing clearer investment cases and centralizing technology management.

One effort that appears to have more backing this year is leveraging the support of third parties such as consultancies and agencies in the use of marketing technology.

In fact, respondents believe that supporting their efforts to leverage analytics for data-driven insights is the area in which partners can be most helpful. (Deriving insights from data continues to be a struggle for marketers, while being their top data-driven priority.)

Analytics consultancies seem particularly well-placed to help, with respondents saying that these are the partners on whom their reliance will increase the most in the coming years.

The good news is that supply chain partners are improving in their support of organizations’ efforts to derive value from data. This year half of respondents rated that support a top-2 box score on a 5-point scale, up from just 36% who rated it that way last year.

So while there’s plenty more work to be done by marketers, they are recognizing the support they can get from the supply chain and finding improvements in that area.

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