Attention Marketers: Data Is Great, But It’s Not Magic

Magician or illusionist is showing magic trick. Blue stage light in background.

Global marketers know the importance of data but are struggling to implement the appropriate strategies.

The eMarketer Roundup: Marketing & Ad Tech Trends 2019 shows that marketing technology is big business, expected to draw $US122 billion in spending by 2022 in the United States alone.

But despite the big budgets, the research shows that many are struggling when it comes to actually putting strategies in place.

eMarketer principal analyst Nicole Perrin said marketers now expect seemingly magical results when it comes to data.

“The advances in marketing technology, including techniques like machine learning, don’t mean marketers can just collect data and have a computer tell them what media to buy and how,” she said.

“Digital strategists should be educating themselves and their teams and becoming conversant in the types of data they collect and the models that data informs.”

According to the report, 56 per cent of marketers described data management strategies as “difficult to implement” and most looked to outsource their data-driven marketing activities or combine outsourced and in-house resources.

Just five per cent of marketers used strictly in-house resources to manage their data.

As a result, the industry is now calling on data science and analytics professionals to join its ranks.

A survey by Marketing Land asked digital agencies around the world which technical skills will be the most sought after in two years’ time.

A resounding 72 per cent of respondents listed data science and analysis as their most desired skills.

Many still warming to attribution practices

Skills and knowledge in attribution – the process of identifying a set of user actions across screens and touch points that contribute to a desired outcome – is being shown to be increasingly valuable in the modern landscape.

And yet, fewer than 10 per cent of companies said they considered their attribution knowledge to be “excellent”.

This is in part due to a lack of talent, said Perrin.

“As advanced attribution techniques become more common, roles throughout the marketing department will require competence in understanding and manipulating data,” she said.

Companies that are able to make the shift from the simplistic last-click attribution model (which credits a purchase with the last ad a customer clicks) to multichannel attribution will be more likely to enjoy success in digital marketing, says eMarketer.

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