Building an Analytics Culture

Today’s advanced marketing measurement tools and technologies
 are game changers, but they only take an organization part way to the remarkable performance improvements that are ultimately possible. Companies that are achieving extraordinary results have discovered that the secret catalyst to making data and analytics truly transformative lies in a single word: culture.

Nearly all businesses see value in data. But only a few have fully harnessed its potential to contribute directly and substantially to business results ranging from greater decision-making speed, flexibility, and customer understanding, to improved ROI, profitability, and marketing credibility.

Those few companies succeeding at this are the ones that are mastering the art and science of building sophisticated data and analytics- centered cultures where employees (top to bottom) are all-in on using data and analytics as the single “common currency” behind decision making.

Neustar and the ANA Data Analytics Center (DAC) commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the importance of:

1) Developing an analytics culture, and,

2) The associated challenges marketers face in building those cultures.

To do this, Forrester surveyed 150 marketing decision makers from US companies that are members of the ANA. Findings from the study reveal clear financial and organizational advantages for companies that are mastering measurement and analytics compared to those that are just starting or developing such programs.

Key Findings
  • The mastering companies see nearly a 3x improvement in business decision-making speed and time-to-market with new products, higher marketing ROI, greater marketing efficiency, and new customer insights among other benefits; compared to companies with less sophisticated analytics cultures.
  • Companies with strong analytics cultures involve customer insights and data teams more in marketing decision making, keeping data insights more directly connected to decision making.
  • An analytics culture is best cultivated when aligned with the right strategy and combined with operational and organizational change, from the top down. Having the right data, technology, methodologies, and data-science expertise is impactful only once an organization has laid a deep and enduring analytics mindset, or foundation.
  • All companies should self-assess where their analytics culture stands and take steps toward improving it. Those just starting should focus first on developing an analytics strategy, engaging employees, and gaining buy-in for using data to support better decisions, both large and small.
  • If your analytics culture is at the developing or mastering stage, continue pushing boundaries by asking the difficult questions — expand the breadth of your analytics to optimize decisions around pricing, store locations, assortment, and the entire customer experience. Seek out new analytical tools and techniques, and never stop improving.
Analytics-Based Decision Making Pays Off

It is no secret that data has a huge potential to improve how companies operate. Nearly all surveyed companies agree that data- and insights- driven decisions yield substantially better business outcomes. The larger question is whether putting data insights at the center of decision making yields a large enough payoff to justify the organizational change required. The answer is a resounding yes.

Survey results show that 81% of mastering companies — those that put data insights at the center of their decision-making processes — see substantially better business outcomes, compared to just 53% of companies with less mature analytics cultures for whom data insights are used ad hoc.

Survey participants also reported dramatic differences in marketing performance, based on the degree to which they’ve created an analytics culture. For example, 43% of companies surveyed with mastering (mature) analytics cultures reported over-performance against key metrics (e.g., conversions, engagement, growth), compared to just 15% for companies with less mature analytics cultures.

Mastering companies also report significantly better performance on a range of outcomes such as ROI, revenue, and marketing efficiency. Most notably, mastering companies report a nearly 3x improvement to business decision-making speed and time- to-market with new products when compared to starting or developing companies. One CMO from a global financial services company, for example, attributed a 30% reduction in the cost of customer acquisition to their company’s increased focus on analytics.

Key Attributes of an Effective Marketing Analytics Culture

The survey determined that the most effective marketing analytics cultures are influenced by five core factors:

  1. Strategy
  2. Organizational adoption
  3. The ability to turn insights into action
  4. Technology
  5. Data science expertise

View or Download (PDF) the Full Forrester Report to Learn:

  • How data-driven decisions can yield immensely better business outcomes
  • Why an analytics culture is more than just implementing tools and technology, but instead, is successful with a combination of tools, methodology, strategy, and mindset
  • The top recommendations to transform your analytics culture – for companies starting, developing or mastering their data-first organization