Over the last 18 months, consumers have drastically changed the way they research, buy and recommend products. As a result, more than 80% of marketers made more frequent changes to their marketing strategy in 2020 than they had in prior years, according to a new study. But a majority of marketers made these decisions based on gut feeling as marketing teams tried to keep up with a swiftly evolving market.
While gut feeling is useful, data-driven decisions are much more valuable. There is data living in every organization’s technology stack – in CRM and supply chain systems, Google Analytics and more – that, when fully harnessed, can reduce uncertainty in marketing. By listening to the data, marketing teams can quickly take advantage of changing buying behaviors and market trends or reduce the impact of channel issues in order to create successful campaigns.
When data is analyzed in a timely manner, marketers can make decisions that are truly data driven to optimize marketing strategy, become agile and drive more revenue.
According to large retail and financial enterprise leaders, 56% of their marketing teams made substantial changes to their digital marketing strategies in 2020 in response to market changes. But few of these changes were informed by meaningful data.
Half (50%) of respondents reported that they were not using any data to inform changes to the digital marketing strategy, and only 37% thought they had access to sufficient data to do so.
Without the use of data, these companies are flying blind when it comes to optimizing marketing ideas and spend – which is spiraling into missed opportunities and wasted efforts, such as missed sales, promoting out-of-stock items, underperforming marketing campaigns and misaligning marketing spend.
Challenges Hindering Actionable Insights
Changes in consumer behavior will continue, making it imperative that companies use data more fully in order to strategically pivot marketing efforts. A majority of marketers (76%) say they cannot leverage customer data to its full potential, and 71% are unable to uncover new growth opportunities from their customer data.
Survey participants also indicate that they struggle to get actionable insights from current reporting and dashboards given the challenges of integrating multiple data sources, lack of data-scientist support for digital marketing departments and timeliness of data. Across the board, marketers are capturing more data than ever before, but nearly 70% are unable to integrate data from multiple sources, and more than 50% are challenged with getting insights within an actionable timeframe.
As volumes of data continue to grow, the analytics talent needed to translate raw data into simple recommendations is limited. Over half (64%) of marketers say they don’t have sufficient analyst support to provide insights they need. In fact, only 14% of digital marketing teams have a dedicated analyst to help make sense of campaign performance and customer behavior data. So, it’s no surprise that digital marketers aren’t able to pivot their strategies to capture changes in the market.
Gaining Valuable Insights from Data in Your Marketing Tech Stack
To overcome these challenges and stay competitive, companies need to access and leverage insights from data more quickly. And marketing teams need to be able to synthesize and analyze data in order to inform their actions. Without this ability, companies will continue to be limited in how they can apply data to business decisions.
Automated or augmented business analytics can help, both in the ability to automatically analyze data across multiple business systems quickly, and by identifying trends and patterns that can point marketers to risks and opportunities in an organization’s business, marketing or sales efforts.
These AI-driven tools can consistently mine for valuable trends in huge volumes of data and serve up easy-to-understand reports on unexpected changes so that teams rely less on gut feeling and more on near-real-time data. This provides an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot – modifying business, marketing or sales strategies to match customer behavior as it happens – without delay.
By accelerating the adoption of automated business analysis tools, companies can gain actionable insights from their data, create opportunities for new revenue and achieve the highest ROI from marketing efforts.
Michael Stone is the Chief Marketing Officer at Outlier AI.