Who is responsible for analysing marketing data?

A new report suggests marketers are drowning in data, but just who should be responsible for analysing all those numbers?

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Marketers – are you drowning in data? Do you have so much insight on your customers and campaigns that you don’t have any time to focus on the more creative aspects of your job?

According to a new report, many of you feel your role includes responsibility to collect – but not actually analyse – data.

The report, by BlueVenn, found that almost two thirds of UK and US marketers surveyed believe somebody else should analyse the data they collect. Furthermore, over half said they spend too much time looking at numbers at the expense of their daily role.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an overwhelming 87 per cent of those surveyed feel that effective customer data analysis is impossible without the right tools. Damningly for enterprise-level firms, 70 per cent working in companies worth $625 million or more believe that there isn’t enough investment in tools for managing and analysing data.

“It’s clear that [marketers] understand their role in gathering customer data, yet struggle with analysing it,” Anthony Botibol, marketing director at BlueVenn, said. “While [marketers] can still own the data space in their company, they can use technology to make the job of analysing and segmenting data more manageable, freeing up time to work harder on the creative aspects of their role.”

Marketers have found their roles growing into new areas in recent years. With the rise of social media as a conduit for customer queries, many marketers have found themselves taking on the role of a customer service rep. In between planning campaigns, they are helping customers track orders, return faulty products and book tickets; or at least funnelling these queries to the appropriate team.

The Data Deadlock study suggests they are also spending too much time number crunching, when responsibility for this should arguably lie elsewhere. There are currently almost 6,000 jobs across the UK and US on LinkedIn that include the term ‘marketing analyst’. There is clearly an appetite in the industry to bridge the gap between marketing and IT, but those working at the marketing coalface are still unconvinced if the Data Deadlock report is to be believed.

What the industry says…

Tim Callington, strategy consultant & salesforce strategic alliance leader at IBM

“Marketing analytics is increasing in sophistication very rapidly. Technologies like Cognitive AI offer massive potential for customer insight and personalisation.

“Marketers also need the skills to work with specialists in data, platforms and systems integration to fully realise the opportunity, especially in environments where delivering an omnichannel experience is the guiding priority.”

Sam Yates, partner at Team 6ix Limited

“Organisations don’t spend enough time on analytics. Typical marketing managers don’t yet have the skill sets or experience to interpret large data sets. It still remains the preserve of specialist analyst roles, often fulfilled by external agencies. For tactical advertising it should be deeply embedded in planning and analysis. Ultimately, I think smart vendors and media agencies will automate campaign ROI data making it easy to interpret by an increasingly young marketing workforce.”

Laila Lotfi, marketing director at Methods Digital

“In my view, marketers should stick to marketing. That’s what we’re paid for, right? That’s where our value is. If I spend days every month doing complex data analysis, I’m no longer focusing on raising awareness, generating leads, supporting the business’ growth, supporting my sales team, retaining our customers, etc.

“If your business is mature enough to be collecting tons of data, that business needs to invest in a commercial analyst. Not necessarily a marketing analyst; a standard BI analyst will do. Or perhaps there are all-in one automation tools out there that get you just the data you need, in an accessible format, in one place, in a few minutes or hours? If there are, call me now!”

Claudia Vaccarone, director global market research and customer experience, Eutelsat

“Each industry has its complexities and marketeers today dispose of significant array of analytics tools to help find the proper correlations or identify business opportunities. But too much data without customer facing exchanges often produces aseptic and theoretical scenarios.

“What I enjoy about my job today is the perfect mix of time spent working data out and time spent on the field interacting with customers and the business: the real stories give you the proper contextual information to read into the data. Behind each number there is a human, after all.”

Nick Taylor, marketing director Europe, Emmerson Automation Solutions

“When I’m told that “we got 1.4M social impressions”, what does it mean? I know what it is, but I don’t know how it’s relevant. I have no clue what it means to me. I’d like to understand more about the context of the data. If a sales guy posts an article about what a customer did with a product and three other potential customers contact us asking for a visit then that means something to me: I can feel that it’s good. But the metrics might look poor if the context isn’t known; “We got three likes” sounds disappointing.

“Us marketers probably do waste time trying to figure out increasingly complex analytics, but maybe that’s because the analysts producing those metrics don’t know enough about our world, how we might act based on metrics, to make them relevant and actionable. And it’s because there probably is a place for more analysts in marketing or at least marketers with analytical skills.”

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