Mind The Data Gap – Why a marketer-led intelligence eco-system is the key to unlocking brand growth.

Jennifer Langan

By Jennifer Langan

Head of Data Insights & Intelligence

Date: 27 August, 2021

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An all too common story – Analyst creates dashboard. Marketer uses dashboard. Marketer becomes increasingly frustrated because they struggle to find the answers and the insights they need. Dashboard becomes unused and marketer finds their own workarounds when making decisions, or maybe they just guess. 

But this makes no sense, right? Surely, with an abundance of data sources at our fingertips, we have all the information we need, right? The solution must be that marketers just need to ‘be better at data’, to upskill, to learn the data ropes.  

And this may be true. But to a point.

Throughout our work we have seen time and time again, huge chasms between the swathes of reporting created by organisations, and the decisions that need to be made from them.

And while there is unquestionable value in upskilling marketing teams and giving them the tools they need to drive growth in this digital world, they are not data analysts. Nor should they be. 

Our philosophy is that data must serve marketing, not the other way around. And as analysts we must think like a marketer. So rather than marketers leaning into data, data must lean into marketing.  

The issue often centres around the fact that reports, dashboards and analytics are designed primarily by analytics teams, siloed and too late in the process. Not having marketing at the centre of that process can be the fatal mistake. It can often result in misaligned, ineffective and unused reporting. It can cause difficulty in making clear decisions. And at the end of the day, frustration – in marketing and intelligence teams alike.

The key to success is in bringing the two worlds of marketing and analytics closer together, speaking the same language. It is this bridge that unlocks both insight and ultimately growth. It ensures that insights are easily found, clearly understood and firmly anchored in key business questions, opening up the potential for really worthwhile action.

There are a number of approaches that are proven in bridging that gap and ensuring data and analytics work harder for marketing teams. One of the most important being the development of an upfront ‘Key Question’ Measurement Framework, which ensures that measurement is anchored firmly in business objectives and marketing needs. It is based not on a ‘metrics-first’ approach, but rather on what is needed of the data and what qualitative questions marketers will be asking when they open up their reports. Fundamentally this ensures focussed, curated and decision-centric reporting and analytics suites.

That said, we know that reporting is only part of the puzzle, and can only take you so far. It is how we get around the data as marketeers that really unlocks the insight. We not only need data points, we also need context, curious minds and the forums to interrogate and ideate. So the idea of insight generation being a collaborative ecosystem is fundamental to success.

 This is why we have developed Insight-led Intelligence Eco-systems for our clients. When it comes to uncovering insight, data is merely the seed. As ambitious organisations, we need to provide fertile ground in which data can grow into actionable learnings in ways that work for everyone. These can be as simple or as complex as needs require, but ultimately the aim is to design ways of getting from the ‘What’ to the ‘So what?’ to the ‘What now’ – enabling efficient and effective marketing. 

 And of course, we know from experience that this works best when marketers and intelligence teams close that data and insight gap, when they work cohesively together from day one complementing each other in unlocking the valuable potential of data.

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