By Andrew Dalglish - 2nd March 2016
They say that an asteroid impact wiped dinosaurs off the face of the earth. Could data be the B2B marketer’s asteroid?
At a basic level, data can reveal the effectiveness of and ROI from marketing investments. What was the click-through rate? How many leads were generated? Which executions generated the most engagement? But this ‘what happened?’ data is just scratching the surface. Data can be used not just to observe what happens, but to shape what happens. With the right approach to data capture and analysis, insights with the potential to turbo-charge marketing activity can be brought to the surface. Data mining can reveal hidden opportunities, predictive analytics can put you one step ahead, micro-segmentation can personalise your marketing, and so on.
So whilst the fundamentals of good marketing may remain timeless, the data age is transforming how these principles are applied. That requires a new skill-set and it seems that, as a profession, we’ve a lot of evolving to do.
The B2B Marketing Benchmarking Report on Data Skills published today reveals that virtually all marketers see the asteroid coming – 89% of those B2B marketers surveyed for the report acknowledge that data is very important to the marketing function. However, only a handful are prepared for the new world the data asteroid’s impact will bring. Two thirds (66%) don’t feel that their organisation is sophisticated in its use of data, a similar number (58%) report that their use of data is ineffective and only one in five (19%) describe their marketing team’s data skills as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
These statistics ring an alarm bell. As the data age takes hold in B2B it will become essential for marketers to have strong data skills. Without them it will be hard to compete in a world where data has become a critical component of day-to-day marketing practice.
Perhaps it’s time to evolve.
Find out more about Circle Research’s B2B marketing services here.
Feature image by J. Tito Gouveia
Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.