CMOs Want Better Data Expertise

With all of the customer information now available to them, chief marketing officers feel they’re not getting the analysis and execution expertise they need from their current agencies. 

According to a new white paper from the CMO Council and Ebiquity (which included a survey of 276 marketers in the first half of the year), 83% of marketers are looking for unique skill sets and capabilities to focus on specialized knowledge and business acumen. Furthermore, they say they’re not getting those services from their current agencies. Indeed, nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they’ll be looking for an external partner to help evaluate and link their data and digital performance.

The report, “The Path Forward: Marketing’s Outlook Into the Digital Future,” suggests that as digital marketing budgets increase and customer communications becomes more personalized, marketers will need additional expertise in data, analytics, content creation and channel management to improve their ROI. To find it, they may begin looking to partners outside of their traditional agency mix to provide it.



“Agencies are going to get a bit of a wake-up call probably in the next few months,” Liz Miller, svp of marketing for the CMO Council, tells Marketing Daily. “[Marketers] are still getting a campaign-to-campaign approach. What they are looking for is to take the output from these campaigns and synthesize them into the next great experience.”

Indeed, only 5% of the survey respondents (who spend more than $10 million on media per year) said they were confident in their media or agency partner’s performance. The increased accountability to their company’s bottom line is leading marketers to rethink how they approach their overall marketing, Miller says.

“There’s a sense that what we’ve been expecting in the past — whether that’s great creative, great strategy or great relationships — is changing to having a true business partner,” Miller says. “It’s time for marketers to begin asking, ‘What am I in need of with my data, and how can I get it working for me?’”

7 comments about "CMOs Want Better Data Expertise".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, July 30, 2015 at 9:23 a.m.

    This is about long term consulting assignments working in tandem with a business unit, rather than about discrete ad campaigns. Do traditional agencies have the technical and consultative problem solving skills to get and hold their clients' trust? As for the client side, who chooses the marketing data partner and monitors performance against goals? Is it the CMO? While CMO tenure has gotten lengthier lately, it is still shorter than most other C level positions. So what happens to this increasingly important relationship if (when) the CMO leaves?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 30, 2015 at 10:25 a.m.

    Absolutely right, Henry. Also, how many advertisers are willing to fund such long ranging activities----including expert staffing and research----at their agencies?It's so easy to blame the agencies----but, then, that's a big reason why advertisers have agencies, isn't it?

  3. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, July 30, 2015 at 10:48 a.m.

    Ed, first of all let me state I am honored that someone of your experience and stature in the industry says, "absolutely right." Thank you. Perhaps the holding companies will step up to the challenge, and opportunity, by adding consulting boutiques to their rosters via acquisition. The existing research firms may have the company culture to hire the right people or develop the expertise in house as well. As for the long range matter you mentioned, it is common for corporate organizations to start by working with consultancies, then hiring staff over time as the processes become an integral part of the business operations. That has been the way with technology for years. This data analysis and application is very much reliant on technology. The pain on the part of the client management just has to be great enough to make the spending worthwhile, and that seems to be a threshold marketing has reached.

  4. A.K. Ahuja from CRESCENDO, July 30, 2015 at 1:13 p.m.

    As a prior Big 4 Management Consultant (focused on technology/strategy), and now Director at an Ad Agency - I have seen first hand the industry shift towards clients requesting greater levels of data and insight (similar to my prior consulting clients).  In fact, our agency runs as more of a consultancy and I leverage my prior skill set on a daily basis - much more than I previously imagined when entering the advertising arena.
    I agree with both your comments's not just about core marketing/advertising expertise anymore, but also the data/analytics experience to provide clients a more detailed/thorough approach to their ROI.  The philosophy of hiring a mix of business analysts and marketing experts has proven fruitful for us thus far, and we'll continue this strategy moving forward as I don't see this trend slowing down any time soon.

  5. Kevin Horne from Verizon, July 30, 2015 at 2:46 p.m.

    Something very stale and incomplete (as always) with the CMO Council's "conclusions"... because the agency world has never been more staffed with analytics expertise and offerings. If you can find me one agency leader who isn't focused on this, I'd be shocked...

  6. Alan Schulman from Deloitte Digital, July 30, 2015 at 4:08 p.m.

    Henry / Ed:

    You are both correct.  It is not an agency-led issue. CMOs are in need of advocates and partenrs who can help them align both online and offline data that frequently sits outside of their swim lanes and often resides either with the CIO/CTO, customer service/compliance, call center, etc. As CMOs become more accountable for activities beyond cmpaigns, such as content supply chain, omnichannel commerce, and customer experience, it's a bigger data pie to make sense of.  To date, they have enough trouble just getting optics into the overlay between traditional and digital channel spend or between search and social listening data when every set lives with a different agency.  Stay tuned.  Interesting times ahead.

  7. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, July 30, 2015 at 4:23 p.m.


    Thanks for your thoughtful comments on the overall state of operations today, very much in flux and a pikle of pick-up sticks lying on the floor, waiting for soemeone to take charge and arrange. I think your last comment about data sets under control of different agencies is most pertinent. I've been involved with client and prospect situations where that is the case. Each agency reponsible to a different department and manager, such as in store, e-com, web content and creative, social. They don't play well together.

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