Marketing executives ‘struggling’ to meet big data demands

Big data is increasingly being recognised as an essential part of many businesses' marketing operations, but a large number of executives in these departments are still struggling to harness the technology effectively.

This is according to a study conducted by Deloitte Canada and the Institute of Communications Agencies, which revealed two-thirds of chief marketing officers (CMOs) say their organisation uses advanced analytics to assist in marketing decision-making. However, 71 per cent agree that implementing the technology is one of the most important challenges they face.

It was reported by that a lack of skills is among the biggest issues faced by CMOs. More than half of those surveyed (51 per cent) admitted they do not have the in-house skills to make the most of the data available to them.

But as well as not having the required internal analytics skills, Jennifer Lee, a partner and national retail leader at Deloitte Canada, told an audience at the FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week conference this week that these executives are also not fully utilising what outside agencies have to offer.

Another issue is the widening gap between what clients expect of digital marketing and what CMOs can actually accomplish with the resources available to them. It was noted by Deloitte Canada CMO Colleen Albiston that while new digital technology has given marketing executives more influence within their firms than ever, this has also sent client expectations through the roof.

Almost nine out of ten survey respondents (89 per cent) said that digitisation has changed the role and content of marketing, while 80 per cent stated the expectations of their department from within the organisation have increased dramatically.

Ms Albiostoin said: "With that influence comes pressure … based on the mountain of data that CMOs are sitting on."

To manage this, CMOs need to be as strategic as they can with their data and ensure they do not get swept up in the deluge of information they have access to.

"I do think there can be too much data," Ms Albiston said, adding that to be successful, CMOs need to keep asking, "What are the things I absolutely need to know (from this data) to make better business decisions?"