Data Dallying: CMOs Say Data Gets In The Way Of Creativity

Email teams are being constantly lectured by CMOs and trade media about the power of data. 

It might not be as powerful as everyone thinks. In fact, 42% of CMOs say data hinders creativity while 41% feel it helps, according to The Evolving Role of the Modern CMO, a study released Thursday by Adverity. 

Moreover, 43% of CMOs say their team spends more time getting data in one place than using it to make decisions. 

Of course it’s not the data itself that causes problems. The biggest barriers to getting value from data are culture (43%), tech (38%) and people (19%). These also happens to be the cornerstones of a data-driven strategy, the study notes. 

Drilling down, the respondents identify the following as the biggest obstacle to getting value from their marketing data: 

  • We lack the tools — 18%
  • Lack of enthusiasm from leadership — 17%
  • Lack training to upskill current team members — 15%
  • Organizational bottlenecks/cumbersome legacy workflows and systems/people work in silos — 15%
  • Time to insights is too long — 14% 
  • Lack of adoption — 11% 
  • Poor data quality — 6% 
  • Difficulty attracting the right people with the right skills to our team — 4%

One note: U.S. firms are less likely to say data hinders creativity than companies in other regions.  

And email teams can certainly recognize the main challenges to optimizing campaigns  reported by CMOs: 

  • Unclear or changing campaign KPis — 21%
  • Last minute create changes — 20% 
  • Not being able to see or compare performance across channels and platforms easily — 19%
  • Unclear naming taxonomy making comparisons difficult — 17%
  • Difficulties in spending the budget or pacing campaigns — 14% 
  • Waiting for reports to be compiled — 9% 

Maybe they should look at the data more often. In contrast to the widespread notion that data can drive decisions in real-time, 30% of marketing teams review performance data weekly to make determinations. Another 29% look at it monthly, and 23% quarterly.  

Marketing teams should also place a member in charge of marketing operations. Most haven’t—yet: 

  • Yes, we’ve had this role for over a year — 12% 
  • Yes, we added that role in the last year — 33%
  • No, but we’re currently hiring for this — 28%
  • No, but we’re considering hiring for this — 20% 
  • No, we don’t need this — 7%

When it comes to people, 49% of CMOs agree that the amount of manual reporting is putting people off wanting to work in my marketing team, 27% strongly so. 

In addition, 36% agree that staff turnover and retention are becoming increasingly difficult, with 15% strongly concurring. And 34% agree that it’s easier to hire new people than upskill the existing team, 10% strongly. 

Adverity surveyed 300 SMOS from small and mid-size businesses across the U.S., the U.K., and the DACH region: Germany, Austria and Switzerland).  

Using Gartner definitions, the study describes small firms as having annual revenue of USD $20 million to $50 million, and mid-sized companies as having $50 million to $1 billion. 

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