Marketers and publishers remain intensely focused on achieving “data centricity” across their organizations, with 90.1% of survey respondents saying they either have or are planning to develop an enterprise strategy to support the use of audience data.
The same respondents said they expect those strategies will drive significant near‐term advances in how their organizations engage with data as an input to their advertising and marketing efforts. While only 9.8% of respondents described their organizations as “extremely” data‐driven today, more than 44% said they expect to achieve that level of sophistication by 2019.
Amidst that optimism, though, the same data users appear to be growing less confident that their efforts to date constitute real maturity given the growing complexity associated with deploying data across all addressable advertising and marketing efforts. Fewer survey respondents described their organizations as at least “fairly data‐centric” in 2017 (40.3%) than did the previous year (54.3%).
The most significant obstacle associated with achieving data centricity appears to be an industry‐wide talent gap, particularly with respect to the analytics skills associated with data modeling, segmentation and attribution. Just 1.3% of panelists said they were “extremely confident” their organizations have the right expertise, skills and experience needed to derive value from data (down from 5.2% in 2016)—and more than 87% of panelists said that data analytics is the competency their organization needs most to advance their use of data.