“What gets measured, gets managed” is a well-known management maxim. However, for marketing analytics, results from The CMO Survey suggest a slight twist on this adage to “what gets evaluated, gets used” (see http://cmosurvey.org/results/ for a complete set of reports).
To look into this topic, I asked top marketers two questions. The first was “In what percent of your projects does your company use available or requested market analytics* before a decision is made?” The average score was 37.2% of the time. The more important point is that 62.8% of the time managers are not using marketing analytics that are available or that have been requested!
To understand how the use of marketing analytics is related to the quality of marketing analytics, we could ask managers to rate the quality of marketing analytics and examine whether this is correlated with use of marketing analytics. However, if most managers are not using marketing analytics, measuring quality impressions is problematic—specifically, we would only be examining users of marketing analytics, which is not a representative view of what all potential users think about the quality of marketing analytics.
Given this, I took a different approach and asked top marketers to answer a second question, “Does your company formally evaluate the quality of marketing analytics?” 67% of top marketers answered “no.” To examine the relationship between the evaluation and use of marketing analytics, I calculated the mean marketing analytics’ usage level for companies that do and do not evaluate marketing analytics. As shown in the Figure 1, this difference is substantial, with marketing analytics used only 32% of time in companies that do not evaluate marketing analytics and rising to 49% of the time in companies that do evaluate marketing analytics. This difference is also statistically significant. There is no way, of course, to determine the causality of these two indicators—greater use is likely to affect the propensity to evaluate marketing analytics and greater evaluation of marketing analytics is likely to improve its use. Regardless, what gets evaluated, gets used.
Figure 1. The Relationship Between Marketing Analytics’ Usage and Evaluation
What types of firms were more likely to evaluate the quality of marketing analytics? As summarized in Table 1, larger companies (as measured by sales revenue) are more likely to evaluate their marketing analytics as are B2C companies and companies that have a higher percentage of their sales through the internet.
*Marketing analytics was defined in The CMO Survey as “the creation and use of quantitative data about customers and consumers to drive decisions. While its scope extends beyond traditional marketing research, its type and level can vary considerably by company. It can be micro-level or market-level in nature but its focus is on customers or consumers on or off the web as they interact with marketing activities.”