Advice to CMOs: Save your Sanity. Ask Questions, Seek Insights & Ignore the Data Deluge

Advice to CMOs: Save your Sanity. Ask Questions, Seek Insights & Ignore the Data Deluge

Earlier this year, Marketing Magazine reported that Deloitte Canada published the results of a December 2014 survey of more than 300 CMOs and that CMOs Feel Unready to Deal with Data Deluge.

No surprise that data is increasingly expected to be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, with 70% of CMOs surveyed reporting that marketing decisions need to be based on consumer analytics.

DelugeHowever, CMOs seem to feel that they personally need to deal with the “Data Deluge”.  Indeed, 82% of CMOs surveyed believe that they are expected to interpret the large volume of available consumer analytics data and feel unqualified to do so based on their previous experience.

Dear CMOs – Does your organization expect you to be an expert in analyzing data?  Are you truly expected to be hands-on, deep into datasets?  If yes, speak up and push back on this expectation.

Analyzing consumer data is the role of analysts or data scientists, not the CMO.

Dear CMOs – Instead of “analyzing data”, isn’t your most important role as a C-suite leader to ask questions about your best and most promising customers, thereby challenging your team to use data to uncover new insights, so that you can strategize to support and strengthen your organization’s point of difference?

And when you challenge your team to uncover data-driven opportunities, do not be surprised when they report that the data is inadequate.

It is a myth, and a blind hope, that because there is such a deluge of data in digital marketing and social media, the necessary data is ready and waiting, and all that’s needed to extract insights is a “data expert”.

Sure there’s a lot of data.  But the large majority, likely 80-90%, is neither relevant nor useful.  If measurement has not been designed, key aspects of visitor behaviour or campaign data will not have been collected, hindering useful segmentation or causing blind spots.

Therefore, expect your team to come to you seeking resources to acquire missing information.

Dear CMOs – Isn’t your next most important task to provide support, stewardship and  resources to close these gaps and acquire the useful data your team needs?

Collect the Right DataInstall a team that will ensure the right data is collected and analyzed.  Ensure this team can “make the data disappear, leaving just the most relevant and useful insights.

If you have experience with traditional marketing projects, it will not be a surprise to you that investment is needed to acquire useful information.  Acquiring market research required a budget.  So why not digital marketing measurement?  And recall that with traditional marketing research, if you don’t ask appropriate questions when sending a survey into field, money will be wasted as the data that comes back will be neither be segmentable nor actionable.  Just a bunch of survey results, and no actionable insights.

But you say, free tools like Google Analytics collect so much behavioural data.  Surely it’s just a matter of analytical skill to make sense of data.

Well, that might be true if your website is only constructed using simple HTML pages.   Today, how many sites consist of just HTML pages?  Likely none.  Many sites are in fact incompletely measured.  And measurement tends to be incomplete in the areas that matter –  videos, modal window/pop-ups, downloads, sliders, expanders or in-page tabs.  If you have more than one website, sub-domains or micro sites across which you need to track visitors, your view of visits could be fragmented, leading to incorrectly valuations of inbound traffic sources.  Let’s also not forget that interactions include social media sites.  Do make sure you’re tracking movement to and from your social media assets on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.

What you need to know is that most of the latest interactive website technologies are not automatically tracked by digital analytics tools, free or paid.

However, just about any interaction can be tracked using custom coding.

Dear CMOs – In summary:

  • Walk your own path of insights discovery
  • You should ask the questions, not analyze the data
  • Realize that the “deluge” of data may be inadequate
  • Invest in measuring what matters

Your thoughts?  Please do tell us.  Do you agree, disagree or have any suggestions?

Walk Your Own Path through the Data Deluge


Image sources, from top:

  •  Rain Room, Barbican Centre, London, 2012, Dev Joshi, rAndom International


By |2019-05-28T16:26:23-04:00May 11th, 2015|0 Comments

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