Industry insiders have always claimed that the Great Recession was a good thing for marketing analytics. They believed that marketers would invest more in data to prove their value to their clients at a time when most companies are cutting their marketing budgets.
I think many of us assumed the COVID-19 downturn would do the same thing for marketing analytics. However, that may not be the case this time around.
I’ve noticed that many peers at different companies have lost their jobs in the past few weeks because of the COVID-19 downturn. It might be that the crisis forced marketers to evaluate whether the costly analytics practices were really worth the money and work involved. Or it might be that we (the data professionals) never delivered as much value as we thought.
In reality, both sides probably share the blame. Neither the analysts nor the marketers have ever really approached marketing analytics the right way.
For the past ten years, the marketing industry invested heavily in building data warehouses, implementing advanced tracking, and hiring data professionals to analyze and report this data.
But along the way, marketing analytics began turning into snake oil.
The benefits were widely overstated for the amount of money invested. The solutions built were flimsy on quality. And the goals were often improbable (if not impossible).
I don’t think the analysts or the marketers intentionally did something dishonest. I think they simply did what marketing people always do – sell the benefits of a product.
The main problem was that marketers may not have been the right people to use this particular product.