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  • Stewart Pearson

What Matters is a Single View of the Marketplace not the Customer

Updated: May 9, 2019

The HBR article Why Marketing Analytics Has Not Lived Up To Its Promise reveals how the hijacking of marketing by technology has inhibited marketing's role as the enabler of business growth. The good news: brands will make “a whopping 198% increase” in spend in analytics. The bad news: “the effect of analytics on company-wide performance remains modest with little increase over the last five years”. 


What’s going on?


We can agree with the diagnosis that in most companies marketing data remains in silos. The challenge of ingesting, blending and transforming data for actionable analytics has not been solved.


We cannot agree with the prescription that companies must focus on digital and behavioral data to build as granular as possible "single of view of the customer".


A single view of the customer is fiendishly difficult in part because the technologies and tools are designed to maintain the silos and constrain analysts from planning and forecasting. The more serious challenge is that companies have over-invested in the collection of data that is inaccurate and will never be otherwise. In a Deloitte survey when shown their personal data 71% reported less than 50% was accurate.


People do not want us to know everything about them. Personalization to marketers is surveillance to consumers, resulting in adblocking, cookie deletion and opt-outs. Most Americans now support the spirit and intent of Europe's GDPR. So while we need to know customers as individuals in their relationships with us, analytics needs to focus on the evolution of these relationships and impact in aggregate.


The problem with marketing data and analytics is marketing myopia, the obsession with the individual and short-term at the expense of company-wide performance.


Marketers obsessed with individual 'micro' data and attribution must now focus on the 'macro' marketing, media and marketplace factors that drive their company-wide sales performance. They should analyze and anticipate the beliefs and behaviors in movements across the market that represent future opportunity. They should develop their strategies around these macro drivers of growth.


To deliver value, marketing analytics must model, scenario plan and forecast future business outcomes. With a single view of the marketplace analytics will fulfill its potential to quantify, optimize and forecast Brand Growth.


Stewart Pearson


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