Marketing spend is on the upswing as the economic outlook and other key metrics trend up. One interesting statistic in the latest CMO survey, which indicates that marketers expect to spend more on marketing analytics. Current analytic spend is 7.1% of total marketing budgets and is projected to be above 12% over the next three years.
This is exciting news for professionals in the analytics space, and my sincere hope is that the increased investment yields 3 key things:
1. More measurement discipline
Quantifiable results should increasingly outpace gut instinct-based decisions. With the tools we have to capture and track tests, baseline results, and understand incremental outcomes, there are fewer remaining excuses for not doing this (even with mass and digital media). Social spend is increasing significantly (social marketing accounts for 7.4% of marketing budgets today but is expected to be over 18% in 5 years according to the survey); however, this is one area sorely lacking in quantitative measurement of effectiveness of spend. It’s a prime area for marketers to focus their extra analytic budget. Lastly, even when solid measurement exist for social and other media, it often fails to extrapolate gains in close rates, response, purchase or retention rates into dollars and, ultimately, business value.
2. Investment in a new kind of data scientist
Analytic Expertise + Technology Knowledge + Business Acumen
In addition to shoring up our measurement discipline, the profile of a marketing analytics professional must continue to evolve. I know what you’re all thinking…we need “big data” scientists. Yes, we need a slightly different skillset to mine data coming from big data platforms; however whether using big or small data, our marketing analytics professionals have an ever growing set of technologies with which to enable insights. This ranges from more powerful backend databases to better front-end software that might support a range of things from campaign management and marketing automation to digital attribution. Data scientists who can leverage an array of technologies to generate valuable insights are increasingly important to the Marketing function. To add to the challenge, these professionals must also partner with Marketing to ensure that campaigns are properly set-up and executed to capture the data required to generate learnings and insights.
It’s time to challenge the status quo around how we predict, measure and optimize. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we abandon our classic principals and methods; however, how we apply analytics to business challenges and how those outputs are consumed can and should be constantly challenged and evolved. Extra budget can support more distribution of workload to free up the time to do this somewhat amorphous thing called innovation. It is an investment that that is often neglected in marketing –and especially marketing analytics – but is so critical and valued in other disciplines. In my experience, organizations that invest in innovation are able to deliver some really compelling results and make the ROI on the innovation investment work.
So if you’re fortunate enough to be part of one of the marketing organizations that is enjoying additional budget, think about your measurement, core skillsets and your orientation around innovation and consider funneling budget into one or all of those areas. I’d love to hear from you if you can make this happen or if you’ve done this recently and how it went.
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