Blinded by data: 5 ways to deal with data overload

Blinded by data: 5 ways to deal with data overload

For marketers, the mandate to drive revenue has led to an explosion of analytics solutions. There’s a dashboard for virtually every marketing metric you can think of — buzz, sentiment, NPS (Net Promoter Score), brand engagement and several other voice-of-customer visualizations.

But the barrage of bar charts blinking in the faces of marketers is blinding them to the data that really matters — the data that tells them what’s driving their sales, what’s driving their competitors’ sales and how to steal market share.

It’s a perfect storm of data fatigue and solutions overload that’s only worsening as the expectations on CMOs continue to escalate, according to the latest editions of both Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey and the CMO Survey, a biannual study commissioned by the American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

According to Gartner, some 73 percent of marketers now own or share P&L responsibility, and over 90 percent will carry P&L mandates by 2018. So like it or not, even the most impressive brand metrics won’t matter if revenue doesn’t increase.

And for most marketers, being able to convincingly quantify their impact on revenue is still a long way off, but it’s a must-have metric they continue to chase with ever-increasing marketing analytics budgets.

The ever-expanding glut of data and analytics options is actually making matters worse. Since 2014, the number of martech vendors has increased from around 1,000 to over 3,800, according to marketing technologist Scott Brinker.

Meanwhile, data sources such as social media continue to grow. Facebook averaged four percent user growth over the last two quarters, despite already owning a massive user base. Instagram is still enjoying over 10-percent annual user growth. Pinterest has been rolling since joining the 100-million-user club late last year. Even Twitter, criticized for its stalling user base, gained five million new active users last quarter — its biggest gain in a year.

With both data sources and data dashboards growing relentlessly, it’s predictable that many marketers have grown exhausted by analytics.

The problem is that, in our estimation at Quantifind, roughly 80 percent of this external consumer conversation has no correlation whatsoever to revenue. And the majority of tools and dashboards your teams are wrestling weren’t designed to explain movements in revenue or reveal new revenue opportunities.

So if you’re a marketer trying to demonstrate your contributions to the bottom line, you risk falling into a vicious cycle of more data, less knowledge and steadily growing fatigue.

How can marketers deal with data fatigue and focus on the data that matters? Read on for five steps that will help.

If you want to demonstrate your impact on the business, start with finding the data source that your company relies on to tell them how their business is doing. Sales. Units shipped. Churn.

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