For those who joined us this week at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego, thank you. You always bring it and exceed my expectations. For those experiencing serious FOMO, mark your calendars for next year. It’s like the Coachella of marketing conferences, minus the port-o-potties and heat stroke and adults wearing flower crowns, plus the customer data insights and special performances by yours truly. Neither got Beyonce [hashtag #2018goals].

Anyway, there are two things you should know about SoCal. First, May is the coldest, dreariest month of the year. We call it “May Gray” for a reason; bring a jacket, not a swimsuit. Second, there is no situation that a Californian won’t find suited to a metaphor about either traffic or the water crisis. I favor the latter; traffic is so hackneyed. Our dear governor may have declared the five-year drought officially over, but let’s not go crazy with a 35 min shower or anything. 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, but did you know that only .3% is useable! Conservation, people.

Like water is to humans, data is to the marketing organization.

The modern marketing organization runs on data. But we are caught in a dichotomy: drowning in information yet unquenchably thirsty. That’s because while it is plentiful, powerful, full of potential to be harnessed, most data is either not harvestable, not from a reliable source, or not fit for consumption. So much of our energy is spent identifying new data streams and decontaminating them.

Data is our most precious commodity. We use it to justify investments, define strategies, create products, optimize customer experience, refine channel and media mix, and drive decisions. When we ask marketers what their biggest need is, overwhelmingly they say “access to data.” When we ask them how they feel about their current data suppliers, they say “unsatisfied.”

And when needs aren’t being met, that’s where we step in. Marketers already trust Gartner thought leadership and advice about how to manage and activate the data they own; how to source the right data from 3rd-party providers; how to model and leverage that data for competitive advantage. You already trust us for primary research focused on technology and investment trends. Let’s add one more vital resource to the mix – benchmark data.

Introducing Gartner’s Performance Benchmarking tool

I’m pleased to let you in on a little project we’ve been working on – a wellspring in the desert [are we over this metaphor yet?]. Specifically, we’ve launched an interactive tool that provides access to benchmark data across four key categories: marketing spend, budgeting, channel performance and customer experience. Ever wondered if your customer acquisition cost is in line with others’? If your spending on martech is too high? Wonder/wander in the desert no more.

Benchmark data is collected on an ongoing basis from three primary sources:

  • Data direct from the source — marketers just like you! Marketers enter their own data into the tool in exchange for comparative, anonymized benchmark data against peers. Gartner’s position as trusted neutral advisor ensures high reliability. Our large, diverse client base provides access to a representative sample of marketing leaders.
  • Primary research surveys. Gartner surveys more than 1700 marketers throughout the year and our interviews provide hundreds of data points that feature in the tool.
  • Analyst expertise and third-party data. Analysts regularly vet entries and remove anomalies to ensure data integrity. We use supporting third party data to further validate results.

Use these benchmarks to tweak your marketing spend – or make the case for new or bigger investments. Use them as a starting point to assess the effectiveness of channel tactics, or your customer acquisition or customer experience efforts. Then determine where to course-correct with the help of a Gartner analyst.

Gartner clients can check out the Marketing Performance Benchmarks tool here. If you are not a client, you can still check out the tool here. This is just the beginning of some cool things to come with the Gartner marketing data offering. Wait till we open the floodgates! [Ok. Really, I’m done.]

Stay classy, San Diego. Until next year.

And stay hydrated, marketers.

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