Whereas 5 years ago, marketers needed media planning and buying skills and the ability to implement overall campaign strategy (including timing and targeting) to be successful, the most important skills today are very different, according to [pdf] a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Lyris. Attributing the largest drivers of change to a digital environment that requires much more agility and speed (58% selecting as one of top 2) and a much more knowledgeable customer (40%), respondents indicated that the most necessary skill today is the ability to use data analysis to extract predictive findings from big data (40% selecting as one of top 3). Tied for second place: the ability to generate insights about the drivers of consumer behavior from multiple data sources (32%).
Indeed, a significant proportion of marketers believe that harnessing complex data sets has become a critical success factor.
While comfort with data is crucial, marketers feel that their organizations don’t yet have the requisite talent. Asked the 3 biggest obstacles to their organization adopting a more effective digital marketing strategy, 45% pointed to a lack of capacity for analyzing big data. That was the second most commonly cited hindrance after inadequate budgets for digital marketing and database management (50%).
Still, respondents seem to be frequently engaging in a range of data analytics activities. At least 6 in 10 claim to “always” or “often”:
- integrate different types of consumer from different sources into a centralized database (73%);
- analyze consumer preferences revealed through online and offline behaviors (60%);
- use predictive analytics to anticipate consumer behaviors (62%); and
- use the findings of data analysis to develop actionable insights for the overall marketing strategy (64%).
About the Data: The survey was conducted in March 2013 among 257 executives from 6 industries.