‘CMOs need to translate data into actionable insight for each division’

All too often marketing is the only discipline that fully appreciates the importance of data so marketers need to get better at communicating insight with other departments, according to Justin Skinner, vice-president of marketing at Cineworld.

Talking at Advertising Week Europe this morning (24 March), he said: “One of the challenges when you’re client-side is that CMOs talk the language of data in isolation. The operations guys that speak to customers on a daily basis don’t get marketing; finance is just interested in the bottom line so you’ve got to talk their language to get them on board; and the CEO runs the organisation so [you need to ensure they] are aligned with your vision.”

He reckons IT and marketing have got to work more collaboratively too, but admits this is not always how businesses are set up.

“It can’t just be about service and hardware, it’s also got to be about data structures and how you can use that information to your advantage,” he added.

Chris Duncan, CMO of The Times and The Sun publisher News UK, who was also talking on the panel, believes it is marketing’s job to convey how critical data is for each department.

“Marketing plays a hugely important role, particularly in our organisation, in terms of translating what customers are seeing into the language of whichever division you are trying to explain that to,” he said.

Within the logistics teams, for example, metrics are based on efficiency, which is different from a customer level. “You could be 99.9% efficient 365 days a year but if you’re always missing the same store that’s quite a different story, so we do a lot of work in marketing to translate data into actionable bits of insight for each division,” he added.

Duncan also reiterated the importance of understanding what data should be available to which parts of the business.

“We are all charged more and more with trying to understand return on investment and what effect marketing has on the long-term growth of the business, so a lot of that needs to be quantified. You can’t quantify everything though and there is a still a huge role for creativity,” he said.

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