Brand owners are being urged to “dive deep” into their customer data gathered from all sources or risk being left in the wake of those firms which have embraced data strategy across the business – from boardroom to shopfloor – and are reaping up to 26% higher revenues.
So says a global survey of 400 senior marketing executives by Forbes Insights and Treasure Data, which reveals that only 13% of companies can be considered leaders in tapping into customer data, with the vast majority (87%) seen as laggards.
Despite the increase in companies using data-driven techniques, “Data Versus Goliath: Customer Data Strategies to Disrupt the Disrupters” shows that marketers are simply not taking full advantange of the smorsgasbord of data opportunities.
In terms of revenue, the difference between the leaders and the laggards is profound, with those companies identified as leaders posting significantly higher returns (26%) than those identified as laggards (8%).
Last week, a separate study from consulting firm McKinsey claimed that marketers who use data to drive their creativity can get double revenue growth compared to those who do not.
According to the Forbes Insights study, marketers who fear their bottom line will be affected (51%) have shown a willingness to make changes to recapture their market share, by embracing data-driven strategies.
While businesses are dealing with more data than ever before, from multiple sources, companies are still struggling with the best ways to manage it. One issue is that with current systems, only management has access to data. Most of those surveyed (81%) report that only senior executives analyse and use data to guide strategy, while only 26% say that their staff employees work with data at all.
While executive data analytics typically has been historical, meaning it is viewed through a “rear-view mirror,” there is impetus to increase the levels of real-time data. Half of those surveyed said they plan to implement real-time decision making as part of their customer data analytics.
But even those companies which make data collection and analysis a priority are finding that they do not have the right skills to understand it. Just 43% report that they can create and segment audiences, and only one in four say they can fully leverage the data that is available, suggesting that, despite clients’ drive to bring expertise in-house, there are still major opportunities for third-parties.
Most executives (54%) say that their vision of a customer data-driven business is “one in which employees are rewarded for identifying and acting on opportunities identified through analytics.” Nearly half (47%) expect that all staff wear the “data analyst” hat at some level. Still, only 14% of employees have full autonomy at this time.
Treasure Data chief marketing officer Rob Glickman said: “[This survey] confirms that in order for organisations to better understand their customers – and have a fighting chance to compete with the industry behemoths – companies need to dive deep in the customer data from all sources.”
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