Marketers have been awarded an average grade of C-minus for marketing intelligence capabilities, according to new research from Forrester Consulting on behalf of marketing intelligence software firm Velocidi. The findings were based on a maturity model that measured firms’ capabilities with criteria, such as data management, activation, benchmarking, people and culture. The study defines marketing intelligence as “the processes and systems that can help turn information into actionable marketing decisions.”
The survey of nearly 300 marketing decision makers reveals that although data management is foundational to marketing intelligence, table stakes capabilities aren’t being adequately covered by many companies. Firms received a D grade in the data management category. In addition, close to one-third of firms lack experience translating their data into insight and action, adequate reporting tools, and sufficient staff.
The study also found that firms tend to struggle to form cross-functional collaborative organizational structures. A whopping 74 percent of marketing firms have yet to establish a senior role such as Chief Data Officer or Chief Analytics Officer to lead their organization’s marketing intelligence initiatives. Instead, data is still controlled and applied by a select number of specialized, siloed entities within the organization.
“The growing availability of data was meant to be a boon to marketers—helping them improve campaign results, expand their capabilities and eliminate silos,” said David Dunne, founder and CEO of Velocidi, in a news release. “However, we think this study shows that for many marketers the opposite has occurred. In fact, they lack the tools and applications to get the most out of their campaigns. In order to remain competitive and connect with consumers, marketers need to transform their organizations with intelligent systems that are more than just a source of information—but a driver of insights and actionable recommendations.”
According to the Forrester study, 88 percent of firms cited reporting and analysis tools as important and 92 percent expressed knowing the importance of having easy access to all their media and customer data. However, many firms were far less likely to see advanced analytics or tools that enable data insights as significant to their marketing intelligence capabilities. Forrester determined that the findings suggest the vast majority of firms understand they must bring marketing intelligence capabilities to bear, but they still think of marketing intelligence as only a reporting dashboard or a source of information, rather than a form of insight generation.
Other key findings of the recent study include:
- Only 29 percent of firms have a senior marketing champion for marketing intelligence, compared to just 15 percent who have turned to a senior analytics executive.
- Although close to three-quarters of marketers believe that marketing intelligence is important to meet business goals, most were more likely to consider implementing basic capabilities like providing easy access to media and customer data, rather than more advanced tools that enable them to activate insights.
- 61 percent of firms report that their current marketing intelligence tools take a more backward-looking view than forward-looking.
- Firms received near failing marks for data management in areas, such as: Ownership and Access, Automation, Quality, Storage and Accessibility.
Forrester conducted an online survey of 273 organizations in the U.S. and survey participants included decision-makers in advertising or marketing roles. The study began in July 2017 and was completed in October 2017. Questions provided to the participants asked about their challenges with and current capabilities as it applies to marketing analytics. Respondents were offered a nominal incentive as a thank you for time spent on the survey.
* The C-minus evaluation is based on a 100-point scale and reflects the grading format used in the American education system.