Global trends in data-driven marketing: strategic use low but set to rise

A global polling of marketers has found that marketers are feeling the pressure to become more data driven, with almost half of all marketers saying data is the most under-utilised asset in their organisation, with more using data on an ad hoc basis than in any systematic way.

About a third of marketers say they currently use their organisation’s data in a systematic or strategic way, as opposed to 48% using data on an ad hoc basis. But, positively, strategic use is set to increase to just over a half of all marketers over the next 12 months.

The ‘Teradata Data-Driven Marketing Survey 2013’, which polled marketers and marketing executives from corporations around the world, found there are three main drivers for adopting data-driven marketing:

  • Improve efficiency,
  • prove effectiveness with outcomes and metrics, and
  • achieve better cross-channel integration.

Perceptions vary, with around 40% of marketers giving their department an average to failing grade of C or lower for using data to drive marketing, and 45% agreeing that data is the most under-utilised asset in the marketing organisation.

A major challenge for all marketing departments is accountability pressures, with 75% of marketers who attempt to calculate ROI reporting some kind of problem. The number one barrier to ROI calculation identified is lack of data integration.

When it comes to decision-making, the benefits of having supporting insights are widely acknowledged, but lack of systematic process is hindering adoption. 42% of marketers say that ‘lack of processes to bring insights into decision making’ is their main barrier to using data in decision making. As a result, within two years over 80% of marketers will have implemented or begun projects that automate data quality, performance management, and marketing workflow processes.

With strategic use of data-driven marketing growing, it’s causing business-wide tensions, as interdepartmental co-operation becomes of paramount importance. The survey found that 50% of marketers say that marketing and IT are not strategic partners in their company, a figure that has to change if significant benefits to the organisation are to be gleaned.

These are global figures, the research conducted from March through May 2013 polling 2200 marketers, and executives responsible for marketing, of companies with annual revenue greater than US$100 million, around the world.

As mentioned above, the three top data priorities for marketers were improved efficiency, proving effectiveness and cross-channel integration, with customer loyalty and the identification of cross-selling opportunities also noted.1

Current collection of data varies by industry, but on average the most commonly collected types, according to the Teradata report, are demographic, with customer service and consumer interaction with digital marketing coming in second. Note in the below figure the discrepancy between collection (light) and usage (blue).


Whether use of data is systematic or ad hoc currently depends on where control of data marketing system lies. According to respondents to the Teradata report, marketing-controlled systems are more likely to be used routinely, whereas IT-controlled systems are more likely to be ad hoc.

Compare that to the projected scenario in 12 months’ time.





Source: Teradata Data-Driven Marketing Survey 2013