Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Bigger budgets and higher stakes: Three top tips for marketers to feel confident making decisions with newly unlocked investment

By Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA, Treasure Data

Advertising budgets are reaching new peaks, as the recently released IAB digital ad spend figures show. With budgets surging by 40% in 2021 to £23.5bn, it’s clear that after a challenging couple of years, brands are now channelling greater investment into engaging and entertaining their customers.

And budget increases have come at the right time – with uncertainty still rampant in the face of rising inflation and a cost of living crisis gripping Europe, businesses cannot afford to lose ground to competitors. Consumers will increasingly be making decisions about what is essential versus ‘nice to have’ and consistent communication is key to staying on the right side of this choice. These factors are just some of the reasons that brands which fail to resonate with consumers will be the first to fall.

The role of marketers is more crucial than ever, yet recent research conducted by Treasure Data alarmingly found that marketing leaders are gripped by decision paralysis. FOMU (Fear Of Messing Up) is high and rising. Of the 441 senior marketers we surveyed, 49% admitted to feeling less confident in making business-critical decisions than before the pandemic began, and an additional 60% agreed that decision-making is harder than it’s ever been. The findings are deeply concerning, and given we know businesses today must be ready for any eventuality, action must be taken to stop this decision-making paralysis stopping marketers from making the most of newly unlocked budgets.

But a simple solution is staring marketers in the face. Harnessing the power of data is the best way to help marketers to navigate these uncertain times. By obtaining and correctly using more and better information about customers’ needs and wants, advertising materials can become more relevant, targeted and impactful.

Get rid of data silos

For marketing leaders to regain confidence in their decision-making, they must first build a clear picture by eliminating data silos. 63% of the marketers we surveyed agreed that marketing and brand decisions are entirely dependent on the quality of their data, yet, 47% struggle to amalgamate available data to help build a full picture of how consumers interact with their business. The pre-existing data silos that too many companies struggle with are fundamentally starving marketers of the insights they need to adapt to the fast paced world around them.

Connecting data properly is key to giving marketers the confidence they need to make better decisions. By relying on out-dated and restricted insights that data-silos result in, marketers lack the ability to effectively and quickly adapt to the volatile environment in which they operate.

Taking a holistic view

Marketers need to see the whole picture, which means having a holistic view of the available data. Larger marketing budgets gives businesses the opportunity to speak to a larger audience, which leaves little room for mistakes.

Once data is properly connected – you can enjoy clear and accurate insights into how consumers are interacting with your business, and the content you’re delivering to them. But it’s crucial to take the time to zoom out and think strategically about how the pieces fit together.

The ability to connect data is one thing, a holistic mindset is another. All data is valuable but each decision relies on identifying the right actionable insights. Make sure your team is equipped to use data to inform the most effective, timely and impactful messaging by approaching data the right way. Maximising the potential of increased budgets depends not only on the right tools, but the right attitude.

Upskilling marketing teams

If making sense of data comes down to the perfect combination of good tech and a good team, marketing teams deserve the tools and skills which set them up to implement a successful data strategy. Marketers clearly recognise this, with 64% of those we surveyed agreeing that a more cohesive understanding of the available data would help them perform their job more effectively.

Investing in upskilling marketing teams is therefore crucial if they are going to defend the competitive advantages of their businesses. Proper training will let you and your team know exactly how to conduct effective data management with confidence, and to make better decisions with data. Doing so is essential in keeping brands front of mind for consumers through the rest of this year and beyond.