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Blog / Reality Check: Are Marketers as Analytically Mature as They Think?

Reality Check: Are Marketers as Analytically Mature as They Think?

Modern marketing teams are feeling optimistic about their data maturity right now, with two-thirds identifying as analytically mature. Fantastic, right?

Well, not quite…

If we dig deeper, the capabilities of these marketing teams are much less advanced than we’d expect from a truly analytically mature organization. 

We surveyed 964 marketers and marketing analysts to find out how advanced they think they are, and see how this stacks up against their current capabilities. Read on to find out more, or check out the full Marketing Analytics State of Play report here.


2 in 3 marketing professionals identify as analytically mature

The bar for what it means to be analytically mature keeps rising, so it can be difficult to keep up. But if we break it down to basics, there are three key stages to hit - hindsight, insight, and foresight. 

  • Hindsight: being able to measure the impacts of marketing decisions
  • Insight: uncovering timely insights from data
  • Foresight: make proactive decisions based on predictive data


The most analytically mature marketing forces have the right tools and culture to do all three. And being able to make proactive decisions means that businesses can identify risks and opportunities much earlier on, and optimize their campaigns before any budget is wasted.

In short, foresight is a massive competitive advantage, but relatively few have made it to the top of the mountain.

“One of the biggest problems with not having a more mature data set-up is that it forces you to only ever be looking backwards,” says CMO of Adverity, Harriet Durnford-Smith.

“Think about it; if you need to spend days or weeks pulling all your data together and then analyzing it to find out what is going on, you only ever have a view of the past. And how can you ever compete with businesses that are able to look at changes in real-time or who are truly leveraging the power of predictive analytics.”


Our data shows that two-thirds of marketers and analysts self-identify as analytically mature, and 63% say they are data-driven.

But do our analytically mature respondents fit these criteria?


Want to move further up the analytical maturity scale?

Check out our 5-Stage Journey for Marketers Aiming to Get More Value from Data.


The self-assessment Vs. The reality

The amount of time it takes to turn marketing data into actionable insights is a good indicator of how advanced a marketing team is. If they can get timely insights, then they’ll sit comfortably in the second stage of analytical maturity - insight.phrase_2_graphics2

The problem with manual data wrangling and building routine reports on spreadsheets is that it takes time.

Well - that’s just one problem actually, there are plenty of others like limited visibility or manual errors that undermine data quality - but you can read more about those in our challenges and priorities report.

If analysts spend three days gathering data from disparate sources and plugging it into a spreadsheet, that data is going to be out of date by the time it’s ready to provide any insights. So we’re stuck in the hindsight stage here, along with 77% of marketers and analysts who are still struggling to achieve a single view of their data.

But what’s most troubling is that marketers and analysts think they’ve reached the pinnacle of analytical maturity, and seem to be largely unaware of the groundwork that needs to be done to progress from here.

“What may have been considered data mature five years ago is no longer the case,” says CMO of Adverity, Harriet Durnford-Smith.

“However, many marketers who haven't evolved their approach to data still think they are market leaders. The truth is that wrangling data and building reports in spreadsheets without a single source of truth just doesn’t cut it anymore. And businesses need to realize this if they are going to compete over the coming years.”


Why does this gap between reality and perception matter?

We found that marketing teams have big plans to implement advanced marketing tech next year. Currently, 61% say they plan to implement predictive analytics in 2022, and 56% plan to implement MMM.

If these teams are still relying on spreadsheets and manual data wrangling, then predictive analytics is effectively out of the question. Sure, technically you can run a predictive model without a single unified view of your marketing data. But considering the amount of time and effort this would take, if this is your chosen path then be prepared for your analysts to weep openly.

We already know that data analysts are sick of manual wrangling. They want to get stuck into the much more interesting predictive elements of their job that got them excited about data analysis in the first place.

Currently, companies are hiring data scientists and filling up their time with mundane manual integration, because they don’t have an automated single view.

Not only does this undermine data quality, but it also means that analysts aren't able to use the advanced skills they were hired for. To be truly data-driven, businesses need to prioritize foundational data tools which automate integration before they sink time and money into more advanced tech like predictive analytics.

As it stands, marketing teams are trying to run before they can walk. Unless marketers and analysts can take a more realistic view of their current capabilities and address the gaps in their foundation, then it’s unlikely that they’ll move the needle on predictive analytics.


Want to make your marketing truly data-driven?

Speak with one of our consultants to find out how Adverity can help you make the most out of your data

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