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CMO Survey: Marketing Analytics are a Waste of Money

This won't help the marketing executive at the C-Suite table: Only about a third of organizational projects include marketing analytics. And there has been no significant gains for how marketing analytics contribute to a company's overall performance.

Those are two of the findings from this month's CMO Survey, the bi-annual report by Duke University, the American Marketing Association (AMA) and McKinsey & Company.

"There is a longstanding tendency for managers to not use marketing information in their decisions," said Christine Moorman, T. Austin Finch senior professor of Business Administration at Duke University and the founder and director of The CMO Survey. "We see that this holds for marketing analytics as well. Only 32.5 percent of marketing analytics that are either requested or available are used by managers to make decisions. This means that companies are spending more but not getting the full benefit of these investments."

No One Cares 

Duke began the survey in 2008 as a way to collect and disseminate the opinions of top marketers to predict the future of markets and track marketing excellence. This month's survey, the 11th, included 408 respondents ranging from US marketers at Fortune 1000, Forbes Top 200 and marketers who are AMA members or Duke University alumni. Nearly 90 percent of respondents were VP-level or above.  

According to the survey, marketers simply don't believe their analytics matter at the Important Decisions Table. Asked to what degree does marketing analytics contribute to their company's performance — 7 being "very highly" and 1 being "not at all" — marketers averaged an answer of 3.7. The answer peaked in the last four surveys at 3.9.

This shows, Moorman told CMSWire, that the "contribution of marketing analytics to company performance is low and not improving over time."

Asked about unexpected numbers, Moorman told us she was surprised that the amount of money companies are allocating toward social media and marketing analytics continues to accelerate. According to the Duke CMO survey, organizations average six employees — four inside and two outsourced — to manage social media. It's more than double from the last survey.

It's interesting because the survey also finds 49.2 percent of respondents feel they've yet to be able to show the impact of social media on their business. Some other numbers from the CMO survey include:

  • 12.1: percent of marketing budget to be spent on marketing analytics the next three years
  • 2.1: percent of marketers who feel it is "not at all challenging" to find marketing analytics talent
  • 27: percent of organizations that rely on "manager judgments" to measure marketing ROI
  • 4.6: average number of years companies retain marketing leaders

Future for the CMO

Fear not, CMO. Just because they're not using your information, analytics and hard work — many people say your existence matters and that marketing analytics plays a big part. And just because it's a changing role, it will still be a role in the future, others contend.

But as for who will ultimately matter in an organization, it always comes back to the producers, Moorman said.

"Power and stature within the company will accrue to those marketing leaders that contribute to their company’s growth," he said. "The title is probably irrelevant." 

 
 
 
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