Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020

October 15, 2020
Contributor: Gloria Omale

The 2020 Gartner survey reveals marketing leaders’ persistent optimism about the future of marketing data and analytics despite challenges.

Year after year, the Gartner CMO Spend Survey shows CMOs ranking marketing data and analytics as a top area of investment. However, the Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020 shows that a large proportion of senior marketers, defined as CMOs and VPs of marketing, are unimpressed by the results they receive from their marketing data and analytics investments.

Gartner surveyed over 400 marketing leaders and analytics practitioners to better understand the current approaches to marketing analytics that support marketing strategies to enable future growth and success. Fifty-four percent of senior marketing respondents in the survey indicate that marketing analytics has not had the influence within their organizations that they expected.

“Many CMOs struggle to quantify the relationship between insights gathered and their company’s bottom line,” says Lizzy Foo Kune, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “This inability to measure ROI tarnishes the perceived value of the analytics team.”

Poor data quality impacts marketing analytics’ usefulness

Aside from the trouble of connecting analytics efforts with ROI, marketers cite poor data quality, unactionable results and the lack of clear recommendations as top reasons for not relying on marketing analytics to make decisions. Another reason is that data findings conflict with their intended course of action.

“Confirmation bias plays a large role here,” says Foo Kune. “Marketing leaders often seek out data to help them make a case for a desired course of action or to show the value of their program.”

However, marketers must understand that having data that conflicts with a planned course of action is valuable and presents a unique opportunity to challenge controversial findings through experimentation.

Marketing analytics teams deprioritize skill development

Skill development is needed to deliver the return on investments that marketing leaders expect, but this area is not a priority. In the Gartner 2018 Marketing Data and Analytics Survey, 39% of respondents claimed they prioritized spending time on skill development; it ranked second highest among areas where they were investing time and effort. That number dropped to 23% in this year’s survey, the lowest rank among all other analytics activities. 

Instead, marketing analytics teams are spending most of their time on managing, formatting and integrating data, as well as generating reports and dashboards. Given that these are the activities most likely to be automated, the long-term value of the analytics function could be at risk.

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Data science and campaign analytics receive less investment

Analytics has to make up the most ground in two top areas to meet senior marketing leaders’ expectations: Data science and campaign analysis. But this year’s survey reveals that both areas are actually low priorities when it comes to future investments. Instead, investments are going toward web and mobile analytics and customer analytics, where marketing analytics teams are closer to meeting expectations.

Marketing leaders are still optimistic about analytics’ future

Despite challenges in utilizing marketing analytics to make actionable and informed marketing decisions, investments in marketing analytics continues. Forty-four percent of respondents surveyed plan to increase the size of their marketing analytics teams over the next two years, and nearly half expect this growth to be fueled by an expectation for analytics to increase its influence over business outcomes. To achieve this goal, marketing leaders must consider these actions:

  • Make better use of limited resources by prioritizing analytics activities with the greatest capabilities gaps in perceived importance versus effectiveness.

  • Invest more time and resources in upskilling analytics teams to have a broader influence over bottom-line results and adapt to new trends.

  • Evaluate analytics teams’ maturity to pinpoint the specific capabilities that are keeping the teams from living up to expectations. 

Despite their disappointment with marketing analytics results so far, marketing leaders who take these steps will be better positioned to experience a positive impact from analytics on their organizations’ future course.

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