The apocryphal tale that a data scientist’s role involves being locked in darkened basements until the wee hours, studiously scrolling through reams of spreadsheet data, is one that is fast becoming more applicable to the humble marketer.
Whilst data scientists have risen from the shadows to present their own primetime TV shows and be labelled as having “the sexiest job of the 21st century”, marketers say they are shouldering more and more responsibility for data collection and analysis within their businesses.
A study from BlueVenn has found that 64% of UK and US marketers say it’s now their role to collect customer data, and that the creative aspects of their job are becoming increasingly fleeting.
Half of the UK and US-based marketing leaders surveyed for the Data Deadlock report felt they now spend too much time analysing data in their day-to-day role, with too little time being given to delivering outbound, creative campaigns.
And whilst the report found that 46% of marketers were confident about analysing complex data, the volume they were expected to analyse was seen as inhibitive to other aspects of their job.
“With the overwhelming flood of big data, marketers are struggling to keep on top of their role,” says Anthony Botibol, marketing director at BlueVenn.
“Marketers are developing their analytic skills in 2017, and feeling quietly confident about their abilities. However, the sheer volume of the data and the little time they have to spend on analysis, means that marketers are perfecting neither their creative marketing campaigns or their data analysis, leaving them in this ‘deadlock’.”
Despite this, the reality for most marketing professionals is that the transition away from art to science has been systematic; indicative of a new type of customer that no longer tolerates being marketed to in traditional ways.
A recent study from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) found that half of consumers received a ‘high level’ of irrelevant communications on a daily basis.
And even data marketers are now suffering from this form of consumer impatience – it is estimated that up to a third of online customer data could be fake as internet users increasingly submit false information to “filter out marketing”.
However, many believe this will only augment the reliance on marketing for data collection and analysis.
“We are going through a fundamental shift,” says Jake Porway, a data scientist and the presenter of the TV show, The Numbers Game.
“Everything we do now has an interaction with a computer or smartphone so we have access to data we never had before. It used to be top down, where companies would go out and conduct a survey and collect data. Now we are walking around with devices that log everything we like, picture we take, store we visit. You don't have to go out and find data, now it is coming to us.”