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Marketing data at high speed: challenges and opportunities

16 Ian 2023

CMOs have entered a new era of high-velocity data marketing to spot sudden disruptions in market and customer behavior. We’re talking about the speed of acquiring real-time, relevant data signals, speed of generating data insight, speed of closing the gap between data and insights, insights and action.

Yet two-thirds of marketing leaders are only moderately confident (or worse) in their data, analytics and insights systems. This means a big opportunity lies ahead for CMOs who have the wherewithal to climb the high-velocity data marketing maturity curve and focus on improving their systems and collaboration across departments for better data management, emphasizes the latest study performed by CMO Council and GFK. 

Nearly 80% of marketing leaders say data, analytics and insights are very important to winning and retaining customers. Practically every marketer says direct access to customer data provides them with a competitive advantage. When they have direct access to their customer data, 91% of marketers say it provides them with a competitive advantage.

Key findings from a survey of over 300 marketing leaders globally uncover:

  • 62% of marketers are only moderately confident (or worse) in their data, analytics and insights systems
  • 46% say access to relevant customer data is hit or miss or worse
  • 39% of top performers say the journey from data gathering to actionable insights is fast or immediate compared to only 7% of bottom performers
  • 60% of top performers say their data/analytics/insights systems are very agile and adaptable compared to 9% of bottom performers
  • 30% of top performers use AI pervasively in multiple systems compared to 4% of bottom performers

Data Marketing in Europe

European marketers rank slightly higher than their regional counterparts in their journey mapping capabilities. This critical capability is instrumental, particularly as the move to digital has greatly increased the complexity of the customer journey. It is no wonder then that they plan to continue to work on these capabilities over the next year. They also believe they are able to gather the relevant insights to properly meet their unique customers along that journey. Still, they know they need to continue to improve their ability to extract those data signals across channels. European marketers —unlike their peers — feel secure data governance is still out of reach, though this is likely due to more stringent data regulations in the region.

Data systems performance findings:

61% of marketers are very confident in their data systems to win & retain customers

Just 20% of marketers have high access to customer data

Only 36% of marketers can move quickly from data gathering to action

Only 47%  of marketers believe their data systems are adaptable to coming changes.


The main  alarming finding is that after years of progress  and developments of marketing technology systems, nearly two-thirds of all marketers are only moderately confident (or worse) in their data, analytics and insights systems.

More than 70% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, McKinsey says. Three out of four get frustrated when this doesn’t happen. That’s why McKinsey advises marketers to lean into data and analytics and invest in rapid activation capabilities, fit-for-purpose MarTech and data.

Marketers live in a new reality where disruptions in markets, customer behavior and world events occur practically overnight. Existing data and analytics systems that rely solely on historical trends are no longer good enough at helping marketers predict and prepare for such disruptions, shows the study.

Data marketing never ends. There’s always something to strive for, something just out of reach. The top two data capabilities that remain out of reach for many CMOs are real-time availability of insights and predictive analytics, our study found. The ability to act on insights in real time and be truly predictive in an age of disruption are holy grail pursuits. The challenge lies in time, as in, there’s not enough of it.

With real-time availability of insights, it takes too much time to extract relevant data signals, analyze and produce actionable insights, and make those insights available to marketers — all while trying to act in a customer’s moment of need.


The study found that the top five data capabilities they’re improving in the next 12 months are: extracting relevant data signals across channels, real-time availability of insights, data-driven customer experience, predictive analytics, and depth and granularity of customer insights.

Yet, in order to reap the opportunities of efficiently using marketing data with higher speed,   CMOs need to close the gap between data gathering and generating actionable insights, as well as move towards dynamic customer segmentation and targeting.

The main capabilities that help top performers to deliver results relate to:

  1. Generating actionable Insights
  2. Extracting data signals across channels
  3. Journey mapping
  4. Customer segmentation
  5. Online behavior.

The few top data marketing performers in the study that score highest on the data maturity and innovation curve differentiate themselves in five high-velocity data marketing capabilities:

  1. Accessing real-time behavioral insights
  2. Closing the gap from data to action
  3. Avoiding data blockers
  4. Creating adaptable/agile data systems
  5. Making AI pervasive

Metholology: The above findings are based on a survey of over 300 marketing leaders across industries and geographies. Additionally, we conducted nearly a dozen in-depth interviews with executives from companies such as Capital Group and Vodafone.

Source: CMO Council, GKF< The High-Velocity Data Marketer, Meeting disruption with insights at speed


Portalul Marketing Focus a fost lansat de Institutul de Marketing  cu scopul de a aduce un plus de informatie, idei si resurse de marketing atat profesionistilor de marketing, cat si celorlalti actori si departamente implicate in livrarea performantei de marketing: comunicare si relatii publice, resurse umane, IT, financiar,  relatii cu clientii si nu in ultimul rand management. 


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