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New CMO Council-GfK Report: Marketers Lack Confidence in Their Own Data

Report Calls on Marketing Leaders to Master High-Velocity Data Marketing

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A new report on marketing from the world’s foremost practitioners of the trade makes the startling disclosure that marketers throughout the world lack confidence in their own data systems to win and retain customers. On a global basis, this dearth in trust applied to 62%—or nearly two-thirds—of marketers throughout the world. For marketers based in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, the number was even higher at 75%, equivalent to 3 out of 4 marketing professionals operating in the area.

The report comes from the influential group of global marketing leaders and professionals known as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, whose members engage in high-level knowledge exchange and personal relationship building and networking. Partnering with the CMO Council to produce the report is the German outfit GfK, a provider of data and intelligence for the worldwide consumer goods industry.  

What modern marketers need, the report points out, is high-velocity data marketing to detect sudden, disruptive changes in customer and market behavior, with the data systems agile at acquiring real-time, relevant data signals, and then capable of closing any gaps that may exist among data, insights, and action.

“CMOs around the world have entered a new era of high-velocity data marketing,” says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “Many need to get better at extracting relevant data signals across channels, generating actionable insights, making insights available in real time, and going deeper and more granular with customer insights.”

To this end, the CMO says a significant opportunity exists for marketing leaders to climb the maturity curve for high-velocity data marketing by studying the group’s report. The research in the report also examines other aspects of high-velocity data marketing, such as emerging data signals, current critical capabilities, challenges and regional differences, and recommended actions for success.

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Factors and Barriers to Success

With APAC marketers, the report notes three factors holding back the group: a budget to improve or upgrade marketing technology infrastructure; new or reconfigured systems to integrate previously separate and unconnected data silos; and the appropriate talent or personnel to translate collected data into effective action.

In comparison, for the opposite group of 1 in 4 marketers confident in their data systems, the report says these high performers are able to differentiate themselves from the poor performers because they achieve distinction in five data marketing capabilities, including the ability to access real-time behavioral insights and the know-how to close the gap from data to action.

In a separate but related finding, the report also notes that while 85% of marketers agree that direct access to customer data is critical for gaining a competitive advantage, only 9% can describe their customer data as being “highly accessible.” For this group, barriers to data access proved to be the culprit as to why marketers were experiencing difficulty accessing customer data. The barriers include insufficient technology, the lack of a data process, and the inability to control data because the data reside d elsewhere, beyond marketing’s reach.

Other challenges were present as well. Even for the small group of 9% that said customer data remained highly accessible, only 18% had the capability to turn the data into actionable insights.

For Gonzalo Garcia Villanueva, the chief marketing officer of GfK, a data-driven approach to marketing is pivotal. “The CMOs need to take on the mantle of a purpose-driven evangelist — using data to help meet the desires of consumers who insist that their brands need to be as human as they are,” Villanueva offers. “By bringing the art of intuition and creativity to the science of data at the speed of today’s decision-making, CMOs can—and should—become catalysts for healthier, more compassionate brands that deliver sustainable growth.”

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