Marketers not “putting their money where their mouth is” when it comes to data sharing


SEO data is still being heavily siloed in organisations, despite claims to prioritise cross-channel strategies, according to new research.


A September 2018 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of online visibility management platform SEMrush has revealed a serious gap between companies’ marketing data strategies and where their resources are actually being focused.

Key findings include:

• SEO data is only used in slightly more than 50% of marketing campaigns, despite being ranked in top three marketing channels by most marketers
• PPC and SEO data is shared across wider marketing teams less than half of the time, despite being considered most useful for decision making
• A perceived lack of processes lead marketers to question the validity of data they do share
• Marketers admit to lack of effectiveness across all disciplines

Research among marketers from companies of varying sizes and sectors - including retail, finance and technology from across EMEA and the US - suggests that this gap is limiting these companies’ ability to understand and support their customers across channels.

For example, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) data, which helps marketers better understand popular keywords or topics that customers care about, is only used in slightly more than 50% of marketing campaigns, despite being ranked in the top three marketing channels by almost 90% of respondents.

Pay Per Click (PPC) and SEO data, meanwhile, are shared across wider marketing teams less than half of the time, despite being considered most useful in supporting marketing decisions. This supports the perception that search marketing often exists within its own silo.

“Marketers say data from various channels is important to their marketing strategy, but they aren’t putting their money where their mouth is. In fact, they’re only utilizing cross-channel data to support and enrich efforts in other channels about half the time,” wrote Forrester Consulting in the study. “These siloes limit the impact of marketing efforts by preventing companies from building a more comprehensive profile of their customer.”

Marketers admitted to not being very effective at applying data across channels, with less than half claiming to be ‘very effective’ in any marketing discipline.

Many companies surveyed for the study attribute this lack of effectiveness to an overall lack of tools and defined processes in place to enable data sharing. As a result of this, they often question the validity of the data that they do share, and express concern that the lack of data quality hinders their ability to learn about target audiences.

“In our view, it is clear from this study that most marketers see the value in using data in a joined-up way across marketing disciplines to drive smarter, more strategic campaigns, but lack the resources to do so,” said Olga Andrienko of SEMrush. “Without improvements in communication across silos and open access to data across channels, however, most efforts will be doomed to failure. By taking a more pragmatic approach to data sharing and analysis and not trying to run before it can walk, the marketing industry will reap the rewards of truly effective unified marketing.”

About the Research
This Opportunity Snapshot was commissioned by SEMrush. To create this profile, Forrester Consulting supplemented existing Forrester research with custom survey questions asked of 171 marketing/SEO data decision makers at companies in the US and EMEA, with 500+ employees in a variety of industries. The custom survey began and was completed in August 2018.

Methodology – Breakdown of respondents

• 51% from the US
• 28% from the UK
• 21% from Germany
Role within marketing function:
• 42% Managers
• 34% Directors
• 16% VPs
• 8% C-level
Company Size (by employee number)
• 5% - 500 -999
• 53% 1,000 – 4,999
• 29% 5,000 –19,999
• 13% 20,000+
Key Industries:
• 12% technology/tech services
• 11% telecom services
• 10% retail
• 9% financial services

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