Most marketing teams lack skills to be truly data driven

data_digital2There is little doubt that fast-changing customer behaviour has forced marketers to be far more fleet of foot and heightened the need for real-time insights but the vast majority of teams still lack both the capabilities and the talent to exploit this truly data-driven approach.

That is according to a new Capgemini Research Institute report, “A new playbook for chief marketing officers: Why CMOs should enable real-time marketing to drive sustained growth”, which reveals over three quarters (76%) of marketing chiefs are now responsible for contributing to business growth as well as data and technology (74%).

However, despite the CMO’s new data-focused responsibilities, only just over one in ten (12%) say they have the requisite data access, capabilities, and talent at the disposal to drive and extract high value from real-time marketing.

But those data-driven marketers who truly embrace real-time marketing enjoy improved brand awareness, customer satisfaction, conversion rates and customer.

Although all marketers are using data in some way, most are not applying it to drive marketing decisions, the report states. For instance, only just over two-fifths (43%) of marketers say their teams use data to decide a go-to-market strategy for a new product or service, and a similar proportion (40%) use data to modify their campaign strategies.

Similarly, 42% say that, by harnessing data, their team has been able to be more agile in responding to customer and market needs.

Data-driven marketers – who the report defines as those who process, analyse, and leverage data to fine tune campaigns and content and marketing outputs – enjoy numerous benefits: 88% said they can adapt and change content based on real-time data, compared to 38% of traditional marketers.

Meanwhile 93% were highly satisfied with their real-time marketing initiatives, compared to 46% of traditional marketers and 54% of data-driven marketers said the benefits of real-time marketing exceeded their expectations.

For traditional marketers (who do not qualify as ‘data-driven’), catching up with high-performing rivals is necessitating a fundamental shift in roles, skills and capabilities.

Capgemini research has identified that this change is occurring first and foremost at the top of the marketing ladder, characterised by a shift towards greater control and decision-making among CMOs.

Along with a responsibility for data and technology, around a third of CMOs are directly responsible for gathering and understanding consumer and market intelligence, trends, and for overseeing marketing technologies such as CRM tools or marketing-automation platforms.

Meanwhile, 60% say they are involved in critical decisions related to growth and long-term value, such as growth strategy and new product development.

Even so, despite the changes in CMOs’ duties and skills, the shift is not sufficiently reflected in the marketing function more broadly and to enable truly data-driven marketing, CMOs will need to address a broader tech capability and skills deficit.

According to the report, less than half of marketers have established the data and technology capabilities needed to deliver data-driven marketing, highlighting a significant opportunity to transform.

The report cites figures which show that 45% of CMOs have a customer data platform that provides a unified and a single view of customers, and 47% have a framework for data collection that defines what data will be collected, what its purpose is and how it will be utilised.

But only 44% say they have an adequate supply of skills in areas such as AI and machine learning, or data analytics and data science, with less than half (45%) having social digital-marketing skills, and a similar proportion (46%) have sufficient skills in augmented and virtual reality.

In order to close these skills gaps, marketing departments will seek to bring more work in-house, according to the report. Overall, half of marketers agree that their organisations are trying to build internal skills and capabilities over partnering with outside agencies and vendors.

Currently, four-fifths (81%) of marketers partner with agencies for activities including branding,marketing strategy and digital marketing, while nearly two thirds (60%) partner with data providers, and slightly under half (46%) work with marketing-technology firms.

According to the study, a quarter (24%) say they will bring that capability in-house within the next two to three years.

Jean-Pierre Villaret, head of Frog Europe, part of Capgemini Invent, said: “The pandemic has accelerated digitisation in a way no one could have predicted.

“Customer-data volumes are growing as online sales increase. This provides a host of opportunities for CMOs and marketing departments to better understand and serve their customers.

“A section of marketers are achieving the full potential of data-driven, real-time marketing and realising the benefits it brings with regards to brand awareness, customer satisfaction, retention, and conversion. The task now – for the vast majority of marketers – is to modernise their data capabilities and up-and-reskill their workforces in order to stay competitive against these data-driven high flyers.”

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