Despite an increased emphasis on the importance of data in marketing, only 53% of marketing decisions are influenced by data, according to a new survey by Gartner.
The consulting firm predicts that 60% of CMOs will cut the size of their analytic departments in half by 2023 due to “failed promised improvements.” Inconsistency and difficulty of access were listed among the top reasons analytics were not used when making decisions.
The survey, which was conducted in May and June and polled 377 users of marketing analytics, reflects the ongoing challenges marketers face as they attempt to integrate data into decision-making efficiently. As the industry prepares for the depreciation of third-party cookies in 2024, data mastery will only become of increased importance.
As Google begins to phase out third-party cookies, marketers have been making increased attempts to gather and leverage their own data in preparation. Media networks of all stripes have made bold promises to marketers on their data and targeting capabilities. Analytics teams and software have become mainstays in marketing departments. However, a new Gartner study is questioning whether those investments are paying off.
No matter how involved analytics are in decisions, marketing departments don’t always see the returns. Organizations are more likely to agree they are unable to prove marketing’s value if analytics were used in fewer than 50% of decisions. On the flipside, if analytics influenced more than 50% of decisions, there are likely diminishing returns for the organization, according to Gartner’s findings.
“CMOs often believe that achieving marketing data integration goals will lead to greater influence and increased value of marketing analytics,” said Joseph Enever, senior director analyst of the Gartner Marketing practice. “The reality is that better data won’t increase marketing analytics’ decision influence alone. CMOs must address the real challenges — cognitive biases and the need for a data-informed culture.”
The survey found that one-third of respondents said decision-makers cherry-pick data that supports a decision or opinion they’ve already formed. Cognitive biases were cited as a major barrier to marketing analytics influence.
Additionally, when information was provided, it wasn’t always used. Twenty-six percent of respondents said decision-makers did not review the data provided to them, 24% said decision-makers rejected their recommendations and 24% said decision-makers went with their “gut feeling” to make a choice.
According to the report, if CMOs want analytics to be successful they have to take a few things into account. First, they should track decisions that are made with analytics to pinpoint areas of improvement. Then, they should avoid cherry-picking. Leading by example and establishing analytics upskilling programs were also recommended.
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