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Gartner Reveals More Than Half of Marketing Leaders Are Disappointed in Their Analytics Results

Gartner Survey Identifies Top Reasons Why Marketers Are Not Using Analytics to Make Critical Marketing Decisions

Figure 1. Marketing Analytics Hasn’t Had the Influence That Leaders Expected. Source: Gartner (October 2020)
Figure 1. Marketing Analytics Hasn’t Had the Influence That Leaders Expected. Source: Gartner (October 2020)

Despite CMOs prioritizing investments in marketing data and analytics, more than half of senior marketing leaders are unimpressed by their results, according to Gartner Inc. The Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020 revealed that as a result only 54% of marketing decisions are being influenced by marketing analytics (see Figure 1).

Gartner surveyed 415 marketing leaders and analytics practitioners June 2020 through July 2020 in North America and Western Europe to better understand the current approaches to marketing analytics that support marketing strategies to enable future growth and success. The survey results  indicate that marketing analytics has not had the impact that marketing leaders expected.

“Though CMOs understand the importance of applying analytics throughout the marketing organization, many struggle to quantify the relationship between insights gathered and their company’s bottom line. In fact, nearly half of respondents in this year’s survey say they’re unable to measure marketing ROI,” said Lizzy Foo Kune, senior director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “This inability to measure ROI tarnishes the perceived value of the analytics team.”

Figure 1. Marketing Analytics Hasn’t Had the Influence That Leaders Expected

Marketers also cite poor data quality, inactionable results and the lack of clear recommendations as the top reasons for not relying on marketing analytics to make decisions. Another reason is that data findings conflict with their intended course of action.

“Confirmation bias plays a large role here,” said Ms. Foo Kune. “Marketing leaders often seek out data to help them make the case for a desired course of action or to show the value of their program. However, marketers must understand that having data that conflicts with a planned course of action is valuable and presents a unique opportunity to further challenge controversial findings through experimentation.”

Other key findings from the Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020 include:

Focus More on Skill Development

Only 23% of respondents said they prioritized spending time on skill development in this year’s survey, ranking lowest among all other analytics activities. This shows that analytics teams are deprioritizing skill development during a time where it may be needed most.

Areas with Most Room for Growth

Data science and campaign analysis are the top two areas where analytics has the most ground to make up in order to meet the expectations of senior marketing leaders. However, Gartner research finds that marketers are deprioritizing investment in these areas. Instead, investments are being allocated to web and mobile analytics and customer analytics, where marketing analytics teams are closer to meeting expectations.

Optimism Paves Way For Future Growth

Despite challenges in utilizing marketing analytics to make actionable and informed marketing decisions, investments in marketing analytics continues. Year after year, Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey shows CMOs ranking marketing analytics as a top area of investment, with 73% of respondents surveyed in 2020 planning to increase investments in the next fiscal year.

Respondents of the Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020 echoed a similar optimism, with 44% of respondents planning to increase their marketing analytics team size over the next two years; only 18% expect their team size will shrink over that same timespan. Furthermore, 85% of respondents feel that by 2022, “significantly more” of their organization’s marketing decisions will be based on marketing analytics.

“Marketing leaders are either optimistic about the future potential of marketing analytics or have invested too much to turn around now,” said Ms. Foo Kune. “Either way, there is still an opportunity for marketing analytics to deliver on senior marketers’ expectations and increase its impact on key business outcomes.”

The full report is available to Gartner for Marketers clients here: Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020: Optimism Perseveres as Results Fall Short of Expectations.

About the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo

Gartner analysts will provide additional insights during Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, which takes place virtually, December 1-3, 2020. The conference provides marketing leaders actionable advice about the trends, tools and emerging technologies they need to deliver business results. Gartner analysts address the biggest opportunities, challenges and priorities marketers face today, including data and analytics, customer experience, content marketing, customer insight, marketing technology (martech) and multichannel marketing. Follow news and updates for the event on Twitter at #GartnerMKTG.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

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