In the past 12 months or so, a steady stream of talented employees have been leaving their marketing teams for a fresh start somewhere new.
The US alone saw 20 million resignations handed in over the course of last spring and summer, and one recent survey of more than 25,000 marketing professionals showed that 48% revealed they were personally planning on leaving their job.
Why is this? Obviously, COVID has played a role with not only marketers but great swathes of the population re-evaluating their careers. However, this only tells part of the story.
In marketing, at least some of this exodus can be traced back to the aspirations of their company with employees often leaving for more modern businesses with a greater level of digital understanding and data maturity.
Top marketers deserve top companies
"Talented marketers are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs," says Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity. "They want the opportunity to do things better, and to be at the cutting edge - but their marketing teams are still playing catch-up."
If you’re in a company that doesn’t get data... you need to get out and go work in a real company.
Andy Lark, Senior Marketer, Dubber
Last year at our From Data to Insights roundtable, Andy Lark, Senior Marketer at Dubber advised, "If you’re in a company that doesn’t get data, thinks marketing is all about ROI, thinks marketing is based on what the next quarter’s sales are going to be — you need to get out and go work in a real company. Because, companies like that, deserve the marketers they deserve and it ain’t you."
And judging from the increasing amount of resignations we’re seeing, it seems like marketers are following this advice.
No marketer wants to spend weeks on a campaign concept only to have it tank because it’s been published at the wrong time, or on the wrong channel.
If you want to keep hold of your talented marketers, then you’ve got to be a company that gets data.
Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO, Adverity
"If you want to keep hold of your talented marketers, then you’ve got to understand how to be the kind of company that deserves high-level talent: you’ve got to be a company that gets data," says Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity.
Most marketing teams still have a long way to go
Unfortunately, most marketing teams are still at the start line when it comes to data maturity — and many of them don't even realize it. Recent research on nearly 1,000 marketing professionals found that 77% who strongly self-identified as analytically mature have yet to achieve a single view of all their marketing data, with 68% of these respondents admitting that they still build routine marketing reports manually on spreadsheets.
Not only is this easily automated task incredibly time-consuming when done manually, meaning that insights come too late — but it also opens up marketing data to errors.
Remember why you hired your marketers in the first place
Most of the ambitious marketers out there have seen the evidence mounting, and they know that insights from their data can help them deliver better performance.
"The role of the marketer is creeping further into managing manual IT tasks in order to get basic insights. It’s frustrating, and it’s not what they signed up for.
Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity
"Without the right data tools, the role of the marketer is creeping further into managing manual IT tasks in order to get basic insights,” says Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity, adding, “It’s frustrating, and it’s not what they signed up for."
Instead of getting useful insights from their marketing data, they’re stuck at the start line, trying to get all their data in one place. In fact, time spent on manual data wrangling for reporting was the top challenge for marketers in 2021. Despite the prevalence of tools and solutions that provide automated data integration, 40% of marketers said they struggled with this.
Talented marketers aren’t going to stick around to copy and paste data into spreadsheets day in day out. Remember that you hired your marketers to find creative ways to add value, and connect with your audience. Their time and skills can be put to use much more effectively if you can provide them with data insights without monopolizing their time with manual data tasks that can be easily automated.
Better tech can improve job satisfaction
One recent study on a global consumer electricals company found that by taking the mundane data wrangling and reporting tasks off marketers’ plates, the company could free up time to focus on more value-adding tasks. And in doing so, the company saw improved job satisfaction and employee experience.
Employees working on marketing data no longer had to deal with cumbersome tools and processes to prepare data for analysis. Instead, they could focus on more rewarding and value-add aspects of their jobs.
What’s more, automating these tasks was better for business. The same study found that having access to up-to-date reports and dashboards saved the marketing teams significant time and effort on running weekly or monthly spreadsheet-based reports.
The company estimated that this could cut down about 75% of their time spent on these activities which amounted to time savings of $1.8 million over three years.
If you want to attract and retain the top marketing talent, then you need to provide an attractive place to work. And that means ensuring a forward-looking company culture that embraces technological change. Without this, staff will inevitably be looking over their shoulders for opportunities where they can advance their knowledge with the latest marketing ideas and technology.