Adjust Marketing Analytics to Support a COVID-19 Strategy

May 28, 2020
Contributor: Gloria Omale

Marketing leaders should streamline data and analytics with agile methodologies to build COVID-19 scenario planning strategy

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in unexpected ways, businesses are taking many strategic actions to adjust to new business realities. Scenario planning is one of the most effective tools to forge a path through an uncertain future. 

A Gartner poll of 362 marketing leaders on March 27, 2020, showed that 38% of marketing leaders report “developed scenarios for planning purposes” as one of the top operational steps they’ve taken to manage this time of business disruption.

 “One key element of effectively building and planning scenarios is data,” said Lizzy Foo Kune, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for Marketers. “Marketing leaders look to data and analytics teams to offer insight into current trends and uncertainties to avoid errors in decision making and help chart a clear way forward.”

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“However, under the present circumstances, data and analytics teams are being pulled in every direction to help guide insight and are strained to deliver against expectation. As a result, they need to develop new ways of handling current data needs,” she said.

Gartner recommends three ways for marketing analytics teams to adjust analytics efficiencies and enable rapid strategic response.

Adopt lean principles to guide efficient analytics and insights functions

To efficiently manage data and insight requests, draw from the lean framework that has become prevalent in manufacturing and startup industries. The most important categories to focus on are:

  • Overproduction: Lean teams can’t afford to address every request with the same resource intensity. To avoid expending unnecessary resources, establish a vetting system to identify projects that can be fulfilled without typical resourcing requirements.

  • Processing: Poor process design can consistently lead teams to complete projects of low value or, in some cases inefficiently communicate their findings. Focus on creating quality processes for better communication. 

  • Inventory: Collecting new customer data is expensive and sometimes unnecessary. Maximize the use of existing data and insights inventory. In many cases, insights that have already been derived can add value to new and existing projects in the pipeline.

Prioritize requests to deliver data and insights faster

The pressure to deliver more insights more quickly has increased exponentially due to disruption from COVID-19. To meet this demand, marketers should:

  • Prioritize and triage what matters most. In times like these, all requests can feel equally urgent, but it’s impossible to address them as such. To identify what truly matters most, create a short set of criteria to prioritize each request and identify how best to address it. 

  • Enable a rapid response with a standardization. Implement rapid response processes that standardize how everyone delivers insight. This will ensure that decision makers approach insights in a consistent, objective way.

  • Provide guided self-service via marketing dashboards. By building guidance into dashboards, you get the benefit of speed, and decision makers are shown any potential pitfalls and steered toward the best use of that data.

Embrace agile principles to guide teams through uncertainty

Use agile work practices, including project sprints and frequent status checks, to foster a culture of collaboration. A time-boxed effort, called a “sprint,” fosters a flexible environment for experimentation and innovation while also ensuring that the data team is capable of pivoting in new directions as business needs and priorities change.


Gartner for Marketers clients can learn more in How Marketing Analytics Teams Adjust to Support COVID-19 Response. Gartner clients can also visit the Gartner COVID-19 Resource Center to learn more about how to lead through the disruption of coronavirus.

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