Two-thirds of marketing bosses suffering from ‘data overload’

The growing numbers of channels and platforms is distracting a third of CMOs from monitoring increasingly complex consumer behaviours.

More than two-thirds (67%) of marketing bosses in small to medium businesses (SMBs) are drowning in data, with over half claiming their teams are using 14 or more data sources in their work

CMOs are also struggling with the growing number of channels and platforms available to their teams, with 33% of those saying this is the biggest impact on marketing today.

The research, from a survey of 300 CMOs in SMBs across the UK, US and Germany, Austria and Switzerland by marketing data platform Adverity, found more muted concern for data regulation, with just 8% citing European rules (GDPR) as a large external impact on their business.

But the preoccupation with coping with the number of channels and platforms is also at the expense of monitoring consumer behaviour, the research report, ‘‘Recession, Resilience, & Marketing Data: What’s shaping the CMO’s roadmap?” found. Just 17% of respondents cited this as their biggest external impact to watch.

Data sources hit double figures

Nearly all those surveyed (99%) said their marketing team was working with at least 10 data sources, and 32% saying they use external sources for marketing analytics.

Adverity pointed to similar research carried out in 2019, which found nearly half of their respondents had six or fewer data sources, with no one reporting they used so few three years on.

Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO, Adverity said: “CMOs have become overly bogged down by data challenges and lost sight of their core purpose: meeting the needs of the consumer. How they got here isn’t hard to understand. As channels and platforms have expanded, so has the quantity of incoming data about audience interactions and marketing performance. Failing to implement efficient systems for managing this data, however, means they are now wary of smart tools and battling to bring disordered information into order, when they should be using it to inform efforts that create consistently strong consumer connections.”

Marketers remain resilient

The CMOs surveyed remained confident in their teams despite a challenging few years, with 75% saying they were “resilient enough to adapt to periods of unpredictability”.

More than eight in 10 (85%) told the survey that being able to make data-driven decisions is a critical competitive advantage.

The report concluded: “Recent crises have catalysed a focus on using data to make marketing budgets go further, by rewarding those who have invested time and resources into their data strategies, while many of the less data mature have failed to survive. And for those who have successfully ridden out the storm, data is now front of mind as another hurricane forms on the horizon.”

Almost three in 10 (29%) of CMOs said they were increasing their data operations budget for 2022, but a similar proportion (27%) said their budget has decreased. An overwhelming 70% cited money as their most stretched resource – ahead of time – indicating that many are under strain to cap spending.