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EconsultancyIBM-Customer-Data-Use-Success-Factors-Aug2016What has the biggest impact on the ability to use data successfully to understand customers? The right technologies for data collection and analysis are paramount, but having the right people to manage and analyze the data is almost as important, according to a new study [download page] from Econsultancy in partnership with IBM.

The study is based on a survey of 225 North American executives in e-commerce, marketing and analytics, all of whom were director-level and above and came from companies with at least $250 million in 2015 revenues.

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Respondents were split into three groups depending on their capabilities in customer journey and struggle analysis as well as in insight automation: elite; average; and laggard. Interestingly, while these groups differed in many ways in the research, they largely fell in line with regards to the most important facets of data analysis for customer insights.

Each group tabbed the right technologies as having the biggest impact, closely followed by the right people. In fact, new research suggests that analytics skills on the marketing team will be the most critical success factor for effective marketing over the next 2 years.

Beyond those top-2 impacts, respondents to the Econsultancy survey cited organizational buy-in at all levels as being more important than commitment and budget support from executive management and optimal organizational structures and processes.

Interestingly, while organizational buy-in wasn’t a large success factor for “elites,” they were the most likely to have faced this as a challenge. Some 63% said that obtaining support from senior leadership had been a challenge for them when building their digital intelligence. By comparison, the most common challenge for those with “average” ability was budget considerations, while for “laggards” the top challenge has been tying together disparate data sources. Somewhat surprisingly, organizational structure was the least-cited challenge by each of the 3 groups analyzed, suggesting that to some degree, larger organizations have aligned around digital intelligence goals.

About the Data: The survey was fielded among 225 North American executives in e-commerce, marketing and analytics, all of whom were director-level and above and reported organizational revenues above $250 million in 2015. The most heavily represented industries were financial services (19%), retail (12%) and technology (9%).

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