Using data for campaign measurement is no longer the Holy Grail for senior marketing professionals, with many using the data to inform future plans instead, according to new research.
The study, from Hotwire, demonstrates that marketeers now rank planning future campaigns and communications strategies as their prime use of PR and social media data.
Planning takes centre stage
Big Data has been a buzz word across the industry for the last few years, from providing insights into customer behaviour and activity to measuring the effectiveness of campaigns themselves.
However, Hotwire’s findings reveal that:
• only one in four (28%) of those marketeers surveyed said they primarily used PR and social media data to analyse the success of past campaigns.
• over half of all respondents (51%) said their principal use of data is to inform future plans and strategies – providing PR campaigns with crucial insight up-front rather than at the end.
• four out of five of those surveyed saying their teams effectively use data and insights to inform strategy and planning.
• all but a small minority of respondents (5%) felt their organisation is equipped to extract meaningful insights from the data it collects.
With marketeers now confident that their departments have mastered the tools, skills and capabilities to use data as a planning tool, it is no surprise that they are keen to prioritise acquiring crucial insight up-front rather than at the end. With the vast amount of data available, there is now no excuse.
“Measurement has to be at the heart of every campaign. But measurement on its own, without a current understanding of the audience, the competition and the landscape just isn’t enough,” said Brendon Craigie, CEO of Hotwire. “Marketeers are now waking up to the real benefits of data – not simply using it reactively to measure performance, but gaining invaluable insight at the planning stage to ensure campaign success from the outset – and then all the way through to completion. That is true measurement at its best.”
24/7 media versus 9-5 mentality
Even though marketeers can extract data confidently, some are still reluctant to act on it in real time. Our media consumption may have moved to a 24/7 habit but only half (53%) of the comms professionals are “always on”. In fact, to some marketeers real time may mean acting quickly, but only during the working day (38%). We may now have the tools and capabilities to react immediately, but what good is that if we still operate in a 9-5 mentality?
A fine balance
When it comes to placing trust in our own data, marketeers are a surprisingly cautious bunch. Only half (51%) completely trust data that comes out of their own department, and even less (38%) have complete faith in any data from their Comms team! But it’s the data provided by both the procurement team and the lawyers that is met with the most mistrust (26% and 24%). Marketeers are clearly aware that there is a fine balance between capturing data and placing it in context with their own knowledge and experience.
”There is a healthy scepticism towards data. The research demonstrates that while marketeers are keen to embrace data as part of their strategic planning, data crunching on its own doesn’t lead to that killer campaign plan,” continued Craigie. “Data should inform but not drive strategy and it cannot replace creativity and experience.”
Marketeer of the future: Generation Data
It is the bright young things under 34 years old who really grasp data and make it work for them. Two out of three (65%) of these eager beavers use data primarily for planning and all of them see their Comms departments as pros in using data to this end. They are the group most likely to embrace the 24/7 mentality (59%) but also the most trusting of data coming from their own department (71%). So creating the balance between championing data and analysing that insight against their own experience will be the making of Generation Data.
The research wasconducted by Vanson Bourne. 100 senior marketing professionals (from CMOs to Marketing Directors) with a global or international remit were surveyed in September 2014.