New research suggests six in 10 professionals are getting pressure from management to be more data-driven, with marketing departments feeling the majority of the heat.
A vast majority of respondents to an MIT Sloan Management Review survey of 2,037 business professionals said that their organization needs to step their use of analytics to make better decisions.
It’s evidence that supports a growing trend: marketers are now accountable for new business, and are being held to quantifiable benchmarks to vouch for their performance. CMOs and CEOs aren’t satisfied with qualitative evidence that marketing is working, they want numbers—and so do their boards.
And CMOs are having to adjust fast. Some 29% of marketing leaders rank analytical orientation as one of the top three skills CMOs are expected to possess today, versus 21% ranking creativity among their top-three.
Gone are the days of unquantifiable success generated from a sentimental TV ad spot, or ridiculously creative magazine spread that doesn’t deliver. In its place will be creative content marketing that certainly aims to entertain, but will be measured for success.
Data is the new black. Which means more and more, marketers will turn to performance metrics (projections, actuals, lead generation, and traffic volume) to verify the success of their department.
For some people, this is a relief.
“This is great news for marketing organizations,” said Akamia Technologies‘ Corporate Product Marketing Manager, Jonathan Singer who is helping lead their marketing strategy. “You already knew you were doing well, but now you can prove it. And when you tie your efforts more directly to revenue, suddenly it becomes a lot easier to get that extra budget you wanted.”
But data isn’t an easy thing to grasp. There aren’t solid answers for how much a tweet is worth, or the value of a social media “impression.”
Understandably, only 27% of B2B marketers say they are effectively tracking content utilization metrics. The good news is a larger majority feel that data and analytics are becoming more available. Things like content scoring, marketing automation software, lead scoring, and the ability to attribute leads across an organization augment the marketing sphere—and empower marketers with tools necessary do these analytical jobs.
Roughly three-quarters of survey respondents from today’s published research agree that their access to useful data has at least somewhat increased over the last year.
These tools cost money, but it’s an investment businesses are willing to make. Spending on marketing analytics is expected to increase 60% by 2015.
What’s The Takeaway?
Expect to see the tools and ecosystem around marketing data and analytics continually improve, especially as executives open the door for more budget. As a marketing strategists, consider integrating more analytics into your process. You’ll be more desirable as an employee, and your business will thank you.