Connecting With Customers in the Age of Acceleration
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Imagine that you have just been promoted to manager at a large food company and will be in charge of a popular candy brand primarily sold in grocery stores. The brand has been declining for some time, and you have to figure out the source of the decline and fix it. What do you do? If you’re like most marketers, you turn to readily available reports and market studies to find the answer. But is this the best approach?
Today’s marketers are more responsible than ever for leveraging their company’s data acquisition, integration, and analytical efforts to shape a better customer experience (CX). In fact, a recent McKinsey study found that 83% of global CEOs expect marketers to be a major driver for most or all of their company’s growth agenda. Despite marketing leaders’ increasingly important role in building analytical capability, many still struggle to effectively move beyond the conceptual goal of “delivering analytical value” to actually use analytics to drive growth. In the same McKinsey study, 23% of CEOs indicated they don’t believe their marketers are able to deliver on the growth agenda.
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In our research into this gap between marketing analytics availability and capability, we have interacted with over 200 senior executives across the world in seminars, onsite visits, observations, consulting engagements, and interviews. We also partnered with analytics software provider Teradata to collect survey data from 300 executives. An important source of variance in marketing leaders’ ability to deliver analytical value traces back to where they are getting their data. We found there is a tendency to rely on existing data and reports rather than start with a clean slate to map out what is needed. In many cases, existing reports are simply insufficient or ineffective at addressing CX issues.
Our interviews and experience with successful CMOs suggest that in order to address this problem, marketers need to understand the strategic business challenge first, identify the required data needed, and then design the appropriate analytical solution. In some cases, this may mean acquiring new data, accessing new data within the company, or bringing in analytical skills missing in the current team. Importantly, this approach increases the likelihood that marketers will use better data sources and analytical methods that map directly onto their business challenges.