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Why CMOs Must Advance Data-Driven Marketing Capabilities

28 Sep 2021

Past years have shown us that data is the key to building a successful marketing function. So, how is the marketing data revolution doing today? Are marketing executives keeping up with the growing demand for data-driven capabilities? What exactly separates high-performers from the rest? We set out to find the answers.

About the research

Our survey reached 1,600 marketing executives across the world with business-to-consumer (B2C) focus and from a range of industries, including banking, retail, consumer goods, insurance, automotive, telecom, and utilities. We also conducted in-depth interviews with 25 CMOs and other marketing executives.

Access the full research report here

or download it at the end of this article.

Data opportunities and challenges in marketing

Brand strategy, campaign development, customer experience, eCommerce, product development, and so on. The list of marketing dimensions where data can make all the difference is long. In a broader sense, data opens up an opportunity for marketing to become seen as a growth driver rather than a cost center – aiding in a struggle that’s painfully familiar to most CMOs.

Three main challenges stand in the way of continued success in data-driven marketing; limited access to data, inadequate data capabilities, and talent challenges.

Less than half of marketers and marketing teams:

  • Use data to shape go-to-market strategies (43% global vs. 49% Finland)
  • Have a customer data platform that provides a single view of customers (45% global vs. 53% Finland)
  • Use technology such as AI to automate customer segmentation (49% global vs. 27% Finland)
  • Have customer segment data readily available (38% global vs. 51% Finland)
  • Use automation to send the right message at the right time (37% global vs. 3% Finland)
  • Have social digital marketing skills (45% global vs. 52% Finland)
  • Consider their data analytics skills adequate (44% global vs. 23% Finland)

What are truly data-driven marketers doing right?

Our research discovered a cohort – the data-driven marketers – that excels in data and technology-related factors. These businesses are well-equipped to use data in decision making and to grasp the versatile opportunities of modern and advanced technologies. Data-driven marketers outperform others in business outcomes from real-time marketing, broader skills and fostering creativity.

They drive higher value with effective real-time marketing initiatives

Real-time marketing is the high-performers’ answer to consumers’ growing demand for personalized experiences and interaction with brands. Data-driven marketers are able to adjust their promotions, campaigns, content and more to match the customer’s behavior and the exact moment and context they are in.

Making real-time marketing work calls for a mash-up of engaging content and a smooth delivery that’s in most cases built on automation-based triggers.

Data-driven marketers also report a higher impact for their real-time marketing efforts. They have the upper hand in turning marketing activities into conversions, brand awareness and customer retention.

They have well-rounded skills and foster creativity more effectively

The required skill set of data-driven marketers is not limited to data analytics. High-performing teams possess broad abilities that also include better category and customer understanding, and soft skills like agility, collaboration and emotional intelligence. The well-roundedness comes from combining this set with data and tech-related aptitude.

The combination of data skills and soft skills is key to understanding how customers interact with the brand and to coping with new situations with higher agility.

How to take full advantage of data-driven insights

Our research indicates six focus areas that are critical for building a truly data-driven marketing organization.

Create a clear vision for the marketing strategy

In marketing strategy, one size does not fit all. Personalized and relevant customer experiences can only be delivered with a strategy that’s in harmony with the organization’s people, processes, data and technology. If data isn’t yet in the core of marketing, it is the CMO’s priority to define the roadmap for transforming into a data-led organization.

Implement a framework-driven data collection process

The move towards being data-driven calls for infallible data collection from internal and external touchpoints. Augmenting customer data from different parts of the business helps form a single view of the customer. With heaps of data coming in, a framework for utilizing the data gives clarity on what data will be used and why.

Ensure talent is equipped with a baseline of data and creative skills while allowing for specialists

High performing marketing teams separate themselves with a versatile and complete set of skills. But the pace of change is extremely high, so continuous learning and development need to be built into the organization’s culture. Firms that aspire to become data-driven, need to first build a foundation for data skills and commit to upskilling the team.

Accelerate collaboration across the marketing ecosystem

Marketing cannot thrive without cross-functional collaboration. The emphasis on a data-driven approach only stresses this point, as there’s a greater need to find a common language and to align goals. Marketing shares common interests especially with IT (driving digital transformation and implementing technologies), finance (pricing and marketing performance measurement), and sales (business growth, digital sales and marketing communications).

Reimagine the customer journey with real-time engagement

Real-time marketing engagement means delivering the relevant message to customers at the right time. The capability to execute real-time marketing is a major differentiator between data-driven marketers and others. To succeed, organizations should: build a data platform that provides a unified view of the customers, utilize listening tools to understand customer intent, have a content strategy aligned with the brand and use automation tools for marketing delivery.

Integrate long-term brand-building and short-term marketing engagements

Marketing data is more available and usable than ever. This holds true for both short-term marketing activities and long-term brand-building. Embedding a brand-building aspect to all short-term initiatives and allocating separate budgets for short and long-term marketing unlock the door to magical customer experiences while making sure that marketing data is fully utilized.

Keeping up with the marketing data revolution

The data revolution allows the marketing function to deliver value that no other department can.

Our research reveals that most organizations still struggle to be data-driven in marketing, owing to capability, talent, and access challenges. Successful firms are reaping benefits ranging from more effective decision-making to the ability to perform real-time marketing that consumers demand.

Striving to become data-led is the only viable option for a brand that wants to remain relevant and to deliver sustainable value to the business and its customers.

Capgemini has a strong track record in providing expertise that allows organizations to realize the potential of real-time marketing and comprehensive data capabilities. Our services drive customers to become more data-driven with connected marketing at scale. Reach out to discuss project opportunities.