Each year around this time the analysts at Gartner go to work on a series of widely read reports called Hype Cycles that summarize the maturity and velocity of a staggering number of technologies. Spoiler alert: this year, we will introduce a new profile called “data-driven marketing” with a “transformational” benefit rating.
Which is not to say that current expectations don’t suffer from inflated hype, some of which was on parade at last week’s OMMA data-driven marketing event at Internet Week in NYC (see MediaPost’s Big Data Swagga coverage). But it’s not so much the hype we’re interested in as the reality, which is that there are large variations in adoption of data-driven marketing techniques among marketers. Last month Gartner released a survey (highlights available) that showed marketers, on average, allocate 21% of their marketing budgets to marketing analytics. But averages can be deceiving: only about a quarter of the panel reported spending near the average; at the extremes we find 21% spend less than 10% while 15% spend over 40%. That’s a wide range. Similarly, when we asked what percent of the marketing analytics budget was allocated to digital marketing analytics, 24% said less than 10% while 17% said over 40%.
A recent survey from IBM compared the activities of top performing marketers with others, offering some evidence that greater involvement with data-oriented activities was correlated with marketing success. The activities that showed the greatest gaps in involvement between top performers and others happened to be extremely data-driven: “uses optimization technology across all channels” topped the list as top performers were 5.6x more likely to do this than the norm. The next three were “adjusts real-time offers based on context” (2.6x), “applies advanced analytics to determine media spend” (2.2x), and “detects transaction struggles and takes action” (2.2x). Lest you think the activities were all data-centric, least differentiated were “integrates inbound/outbound and online/offline” and “identifies/remedies execution gaps in brand promise” (that may still use data, but presumably not big data).
We’ll be sharing more findings about the true state of data-driven marketing in a webinar on May 30 titled “How Data is Transforming Marketing.”