CMOs feel under pressure and ill-equipped for recovery

anger1With most British firms now on the road to recovery from the coronavirus – until the next variant strikes – it appears many marketers are suffering from long Covid, with half (49%) of UK chiefs now feeling less confident about making business-critical decisions compared to before the pandemic.

So says research commissioned by customer data platform Treasure Data, which quizzed 441 UK senior marketing leaders. It forms part of a wider report entitled “Better Decisions in the Age of Unpredictability”, which explores the views of 500 C-Suite decision makers on the impact the pandemic has had on leadership decision making.

In the marketing industry, it has been well documented that the pandemic has had a significant impact on brands, with many forced to change everything from price to product and accelerate their digital transformations.

This has led to increasingly comprehensive insights from an ever-growing data pool spanning the entire organisation during a tumultuous two years of unpredictability.

The study reveals that seven in ten (71%) marketing chiefs feel under more pressure to make the right decisions quickly and three-fifths (60%) report that decision making is now more complicated than ever before.

As the report insists, the value of data to marketers was long known before the pandemic. However, the number of senior marketers who view data as “very important” is now 44% higher than before the outbreak, and almost seven in ten believe Covid has shone a stark light on the importance of data in decision making.

In fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of marketing leaders agree that marketing and brand decisions are entirely dependent on the quality of their data and information, as well as almost half (48%) saying the amount of data their team has to interpret and action has risen.

Yet it seems that organisations’ inability to collect, interpret and leverage data is having a striking effect on the confidence senior marketers have in their day to day decisions.

Despite data being so critical, nearly two-thirds (56%) of marketing chiefs do not think their business fully harnesses the power of data when it comes to understanding their brand positioning and communications.

Specifically, 47% report that they struggle to amalgamate available data to form a holistic picture of both their brand and their customers, and nearly two thirds (64%) think a more cohesive understanding of the data available would help them do their job more effectively.

The report claims these failings are impacting the ability of marketing leaders to make good decisions. Two-thirds (65%) even admit they are sometimes forced to make business critical decisions without adequate data or information and two-fifths (39%) state that even with the data they need, they do not feel confident interpreting and using it to make informed decisions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, in the face of mounting pressure to take in, sift through and interpret mountains of available data to help make the right decisions, almost three-fifths (57%) of marketing leaders are afraid of making the wrong ones; a third (34%) even admit to frequently doing so.

Treasure Data director of marketing EMEA Andrew Stephenson said: “Senior marketers have revealed just how much they rely on quality data when making decisions, yet lack faith in their organisation’s ability to sweat its data to its full ability.

“The inability of marketers to make effective, informed decisions with confidence and speed has tangible impact across the entirety of the business.

“With uncertain times ahead, marketers remain under pressure to demonstrate how every decision returns value. Businesses must act now to properly equip their teams with the insights and tools necessary to turn data into tangible insights – critical if businesses wish to properly reconnect with their customers and regain customer centricity.”

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