‘Hunches’ Still Rule Marketing Decisions, Says IBM Study

hunch-ibmMarketers are missing out on potential revenue from consumers because they cannot adequately analyze the deluge of data they receive from increasing sources, according to a new study called “Marketing Science: from Descriptive to Prescriptive” released by IBM. The study found that only 32% of the 358 chief marketing officers surveyed feel they actively engage with customers despite having more information available to them.

An average of 25% of those surveyed felt that they can identify new insights about their customer base and new markets for growth. In addition, 82% still use past experiences and personal hunches to make decisions regarding future strategies instead of data-driven analysis.

IBM’s study concludes that marketers need to learn “marketing science” in order to better analyze and understand increasing amounts of data. As transactions, web traffic, customer feedback, and even social media increase, marketers need to learn to architect their data, apply science, and work with others in their organization to advocate their analysis-based approach to future strategies.

IBM suggests developing data intake with analysis and structure in mind. According to Derek Franks, IBM Client Insight Consultant and co-author of the study, “That data has to be available. What we found is that in our opinion, this concept of big data makes applying some rigor to your analysis more important than ever. It’s easy to find significant statistical noise with all of this data.”

Once the data is easier to parcel and understand, advertisers should approach their research like scientists. The study found that currently less than 20% of traditional marketers and analysts use statistical techniques or control groups to test theories on successful campaigns.

It should be noted that the results dovetail with IBM’s platform interests. The company says its “marketing scientists” tend to be three times more likely to collaborate with others in their organization to apply their conclusions.

The survey was conducted among 358 randomly-selected marketing professionals from 17 industries in Australia, Canada, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. Fifty percent of those surveyed represented small companies with less than 1,000 employees with the other half coming from medium to large-sized firms.

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1 Comment

  1. Marketing leaders continue to struggle with the new strategic imperative to create a data driven culture. The perception remains that marketing is not aligned with the key business drivers and that there is too little accountability for the considerable marketing investments being made.

    The greater challenge is the need to build an inherent data literacy which requires unique capabilities and competencies spanning the entire business intelligence stack that many companies lack – from technology vetting and implementation, to mapping business requirements, to strategic planning and advanced analytics. We see too many companies overly reliant on technology without insight and organizations that are swamped by their data unable to identify which data sets are required for the various internal stakeholders to aid decision support.

    Creating a vision for data – from architecture, to business needs / requirements to advanced analytics – needs to be championed at the highest levels of the organization. Companies can no longer silo their data, missing the chance to understand at a granular level how each of the marketing activities contribute to sales and customer retention. Having benchmarked over 845 companies’ analytics maturity, it is clear that organizations are being held back by legacy systems, legacy thinking and processes devoid of appropriate data governance for internal teams and external agency partners – all leading to the segregation of data and too many missed opportunities.

    Yet the answers are easily within the organization’s collective grasp. Now more than ever companies must invest in working with partners capable of helping them to create a data strategy that empowers the entire organization to make confident decisions.

    B. Kittridge
    Chief Marketing Officer, Cardinal Path