A few weeks ago, we posted a series about predictions in the marketing industry for 2014. The insights came from industry blogs and people calling themselves (or introduced as) experts in the field. Yesterday, I found an interesting flip side to iStock_000025855639Smallthose posts: The results of a comprehensive survey by StrongView of marketing leaders’ actual plans for 2014 (and the accompanying infographic).

Tellingly, StrongView titled the infographic “The Data Challenge,” a hint that most of the insights from the survey related to data: collecting, organizing, analyzing, and making decisions based on it. One question asked which type of valuable data marketers wish they could leverage better; 34% named web behavior first, showing that many are still struggling to find and manage data based on their customers’ previous habits. Only 18% named demographics as the main type of information they’d like to leverage – an obvious shift from what the traditional school of marketing values most.

Why aren’t they able to leverage data more efficiently? Twenty-two percent named “data quality” as their biggest obstacle, and 15% said a lack of a coherent strategy kept them from using their data to improve marketing efforts. Respondents chose the remaining answers in pretty equal numbers across the board: data access, data analysis, and lack of proper tools.

There was one interesting exception that StrongView seriously underplayed in its analysis. When asked why they weren’t able to leverage their data well, only 3% of marketers who responded said the reason was “system performance.” That means that 97% have the capability, access to the proper technology, and support to fully leverage the vast amounts of data available to marketers today. They have access – but they stumble with what to do with it.


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About the Author: Sharon Eliza Nichols created the Facebook group “I judge you when you use poor grammar.”, which grew to almost 500,000 members. She turned the content into two books, “I judge you when you use poor grammar.” and “More Badder Grammar!”, which have sold 90,000+ copies. Sharon has a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law, she’s been featured in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and she works in marketing in Virginia.