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Blog / Lack of Data Skills is Stopping CMOs Investing in Marketing Tech

Lack of Data Skills is Stopping CMOs Investing in Marketing Tech

With 85% of CMOs recognizing that the ability to make data-driven decisions is a critical competitive advantage, we have to ask ourselves why so many seemingly aren’t prepared to make this investment. In the face of a turbulent economy, it’s important to understand the risks of not addressing this as a priority.


Check out the Recession, Resilience, and Marketing Data: What’s Shaping the CMO Roadmap report, or read on to find out more about the data skills gap.

CMOs are overwhelmed by their data

Nearly all (99%) of the CMOs we questioned said they were working with at least 10 data sources, and 52% said they used 14 or more. As a result, two-thirds of CMOs said that they were overwhelmed by the quantity of marketing data available to them. 

While there might be plenty of data available for marketing teams to work with, it’s clear that it isn’t being used to its full potential. A concerning majority (62%) of CMOs were yet to establish a single source of truth for marketing data. 

Our Marketing Analytics State of Play report also highlighted that many businesses seem to be under misapprehensions about their own data maturity; 68% of respondents who strongly identified as analytically mature said their marketing reports are typically built on spreadsheets and other outdated practices.

The evidence all points in one direction: many businesses have not put in place the automated data integration and management tools necessary to give them access to connected marketing data. 


Knowledge is the top barrier to investment in marketing tech

It might be tempting to assume that a lack of available budget is the biggest barrier to tech investment. However, that’s not the case — while 8% of CMOs cited restricted resources as a key stumbling block, more than three times as many (27%) said their number one problem was a lack of knowledge within the business about how to use these tools.


Graph - What is the greatest barrier to investment in tech?

Graph - What is the greatest barrier to investment in tech?


It’s a fair point – there’s no value to having the most advanced and powerful tools if you don’t know how to use them. 

That more than a quarter of respondents gave this as their top reason for not investing in marketing tech strongly suggests that CMOs have not been doing enough to address skills and knowledge gaps within their own teams. While our research from earlier this year revealed that two-thirds of CMOs recognized it was more difficult to hire employees with hard data skills than to upskill their existing team, it’s clear that many haven’t acted on this knowledge.


"You might have the greatest tech stack in the world feeding you business-changing forecasts on your ad spending and delivering real-time performance data, but if this isn’t translating to actions, then it’s useless."

Alexander Igelsböck, CEO, Adverity


By not helping their people to develop appropriate skills for marketing data analytics, CMOs are hampering their chances of embedding data-driven culture into the business. 

Marketing data integration is crucial to demonstrating the value that campaigns are delivering to the business. If marketers aren't able to demonstrate their business impact and struggle to measure ROI on marketing spend, then no one else in the organization is going to have any trust in the data being used to inform decision-making.


The value of investing in upskilling as well as tech

In order to reach optimum levels of data maturity, it’s crucial that CMOs don’t just invest in marketing tech but also invest in their people, making sure they have the right technical skills for modern-day data marketing. Data from Deloitte shows that 36% of organizations that up-skill existing employees rank as either advanced or masters in data maturity on average, compared to just 14% of all companies surveyed.

Businesses need to find the right balance in order to get long-term value from their investments in data strategy; focusing on tech alone isn’t enough. The key lies in ensuring staff have the right skills to use the technology, and then in creating an environment where these skills can thrive and be shared. Without the right technical skills, your business will never be able to unlock the full potential of its tech stack. 


The vicious cycle of underinvestment in tech skills

Looking deeper into the data, there is further evidence of the effect of underinvestment in technical skills in marketing analytics. Businesses reported that a lack of support from the C-Suite (17%) and securing budget (8%) were preventing them from investing in marketing tech; these rates were noticeably higher among the respondents who were most struggling to adapt to the tough economic climate.

This suggests that there is a vicious cycle at play, with marketing teams lacking the skills to prove their value to the business and make a strong case for an increase in budget. Without seeing analytics data that shows the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, the C-Suite will lose confidence in the marketing team and become increasingly reluctant to support them.


CMO overwhelmed by data

CMO overwhelmed by data

Having support from the C-suite is crucial to creating a data-driven strategy and building the business resilience necessary to survive the recession. Company leaders must be unified in their approach to prioritizing data, ensuring that the data becomes a valuable asset to the business. Senior-level harmony and commitment to data development is essential for cultivating data maturity and consistent marketing performance. 

While some are making headway, there is still work to be done in building a company culture focused on data that nurtures data skills and allows them to flourish. While finding the appropriate hard data skills in the talent market is increasingly difficult, CMOs must look to upskill their staff and create a data-driven environment that allows for trial and error in this area. Only then will they get the full potential from their tech investments. 

Want more? Read the full research report here.


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