There is a disconnect between marketers and data analysts when it comes to data. Whilst this may not be a cause for concern in the day-to-day marketing functions, at the C-suite level it is extremely worrying.
The latest report from Adverity, based on a survey of 964 marketers and marketing data analysts, reveals some interesting differences between the challenges faced by each. For the most part, these stem from analysts wanting more capability and marketers wanting more usability from their data. However, there is one glaring difference of opinion that shows a deep-rooted disconnect between the two roles – data analysts see trusting the accuracy of their data as a much bigger challenge than the marketers that are using the data.
What this means is that while data analysts have strong concerns around whether their data is accurate and consistent, this is not being communicated to the marketers who are basing their decisions on it.
While some 41% of analysts state that low trust in marketing reporting due to data inconsistencies or errors is a significant challenge, just 30% of marketers see this as a problem. Marketers report data inaccuracy as their least significant issue, while analysts rank it as their fourth most challenging concern.
Indeed, perceptions of data inaccuracy represent the single biggest difference in opinion between the two roles. Marketers and analysts are more than twice as likely to disagree about this than any other challenge they face. And, at the level of the C-suite, the trust divide is even greater – 51% of CTOs and CDOs lack trust in the data compared to only 34% of CMOs. This disconnect should raise alarm bells.
Where there is no trust in data – the fundamental basis of any effective marketing or brand campaign – there is no trust in the decisions made using this data.
Manually wrangling data
This lack of trust in the marketing data is likely impacted by the fact that the majority of marketing data analysts are still manually wrangling their data, with 65% still using spreadsheets as their primary tool for marketing reporting.
Overall, 42% of data analysts and 40% of marketers cite manually wrangling data as their biggest challenge when it comes to reporting. Which means modern marketers and data analysts are often wasting huge amounts of precious time and resources by working on fairly basic and unexciting tasks. Not only a waste of budget but also talent.
By manually integrating data from multiple sources, businesses not only open themselves up to human error and inefficiency but also commit themselves to a reactive – or, worse, ineffective – strategy. Burning precious time and wasting human potential on processes that can be fully automated isn’t good for business and modern marketing can’t afford to wait three weeks for teams to build a report.
Recommendations for marketers
Marketers need to be using their data to make hypotheses and test them. By manually wrangling data, marketers always have a retrospective view of campaigns, without the time and flexibility to be able to try new ideas and implement new plans.
Marketers also need to work closely with their data analysts to understand the challenges they are facing, get closer to their data and review internal processes, to identify how they can solve problems that arise in real-time.
Finally, by reviewing internal processes, getting closer to the data, and removing the capacity for human error, marketers can not only improve the levels of trust in their organisation, but also for the first time see the entire picture that their data presents.
Once they can see the whole picture, they can shift and adapt far more quickly to make better decisions with complete trust and, more importantly, at a speed that was never possible before.
It is time to scrap manually wrangling data and embrace the future.