Marketers spend almost one day a week grappling with data analysis

Steve McnicholasA survey of senior marketers has revealed that the vast majority (96%) find improving data analysis processes a significant challenge. This is despite devoting an average of five hours and 36 minutes a week to the cause.

The Data Dilemma study of 151 UK senior marketers, commissioned by Callcredit Information Group, also found that 80% believe they need to make significant inroads with data analytics and tools within the next two years to avoid falling behind competitors or losing out financially. 

Among the most significant factors getting in the way of improving data analysis are lack of budget (35%), time-to-value expectations (32%), lack of human resources (31%) and underperforming data quality tools (30%). While other circumstances hindering progress included:

  • Imperfect data – More than half (55%) of the marketers surveyed recognise the critical importance of quality data, but only just over a third (36%) are extremely satisfied with the data they have access to.
  • Knowledge gap – while almost half (47%) rate themselves as ‘extremely effective’ at collating data, only a third (33%) say they are ‘extremely effective’ at using it to understand their customers’ needs, and a further 29% admit to lacking the know-how when it comes to data analytics.
  • Swamped by volume - 71% say they feel overwhelmed rather than empowered by the data available. 69% also feel that data has distracted them from core marketing duties and 72% agree data analytics has negatively affected the creative aspects of marketing.

In response to these challenges, marketers are investing in data tools in an attempt to improve the status quo. 73% make use of web analytics and tracking tools and 67% utilise Excel and modelling packages to meet their goals.

Steve McNicholas, Managing Director, Marketing Solutions, Callcredit Information Group, commented: “While marketers are prioritising the management of data, there is an overriding feeling that it should be delivering better business outcomes for them. At the same time, they know there’s a wealth of untapped opportunity to use data to extract more value but a lack of resource, and in some cases, expertise, is preventing them from unleashing it.

“The urgency to improve data analytics processes can be hard to reconcile given the high number of other priorities marketers are required to juggle on a daily basis. As a result, some are turning to off-the-shelf software packages, such as Excel, to keep things ticking along. The danger is that the early-movers, who have already invested in more robust data strategies, will over-take. Marketers must decide whether this is a price they are willing to pay.”

Research methodology

The Data Dilemma research was commissioned by Callcredit Information Group and conducted in August 2016 by Loudhouse Research, an independent research consultancy headquartered in the UK. 151 marketing professionals with responsibility for decisions around customer insight and the analysis of B2C marketing data completed a survey to reveal their attitudes towards data. All respondents were from UK-based organisations across a multitude of sectors.