Why do so few C-suite and line of business executives rely on marketing data to make strategic decisions? We know that the executives are holding marketing accountable and that marketing is producing a bevy of reports chock-full of data. But what’s happening to that data? Apparently, not much.
This is one of the key findings from the recently conducted joint ITSMA, VisionEdge Marketing (VEM), and Forrester Research, Inc. 2013 Marketing Performance Management (MPM) Survey. According to the survey, just 9% of CEOs and 6% of CFOs leverage marketing data in this manner. The numbers are a bit better for the line of business executives, however not by much. And incidentally, the numbers are virtually unchanged from 2011 when ITSMA asked the same question in its Data Driven Marketing Survey. Despite the heightened focus on marketing measurement and reporting, we haven’t made any progress. Virtually no progress in two years.
The reasons? I can think of at least three.
- Marketing activity, not business outcomes. Marketers insist on using data to justify the marketing budget (and their very existence!) instead of showing how marketing moves the needle on topline growth or profitability.
- Operational efficiency, not effectiveness. According to the survey results, the metrics that most commonly appear on marketing dashboards are marketing spend and pipeline data (leads, conversion rates, etc.). And of course, the ever-coveted ROI. ROI measures efficiency. Efficiency is goodness, but not on its own. Efficiency is “doing things right.” Nevertheless, efficiency without effectiveness (“doing the right thing”) won’t get you to your goal: business outcomes. Marketing’s love affair with ROI has to stop! (More on this in my next blog post.)
- Past performance, not predictive insight. Few marketers are using data and analytics to predict customer behavior, make strategic recommendations, drive innovation, or impact customer acquisition, retention, or growth—measures that make a stronger connection between marketing activity and business outcomes. Rather, marketers are reporting on past performance. It’s no wonder that business executives find little use for the data marketing produces.
Here’s a question all marketers should ask themselves: Do YOU rely on your own marketing data when making marketing decisions? Or are you relying on your experience and intuition? My guess is that a surprising number of marketers aren’t even using their own data. That’s exactly what ITSMA discovered in our 2011 survey and I don’t have any reason to believe the situation is any different today.
If marketing data doesn’t use its own data to improve effectiveness and make strategic decisions, why should the C-suite?