Almost half of CMOs feel data hinders creativity

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Almost half of CMOs feel data hinders creativity Duncan is an award-winning technology industry analyst, specialising in cloud computing, blockchain, martech and edge computing.

42% of CMOs believe data is hindering creativity among marketing teams, according to a new report by Adverity, a data and analytics platform for marketing, sales and e-commerce teams.

The report, entitled ‘Data, People, and Culture: The Evolving Role of the Modern CMO’, surveyed 300 CMOs across the US, UK, and DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) from small to midsize businesses, to better understand how the role of the CMO is changing amid the growing digitalization of the industry.

However, CMOs are at odds on whether the exponentially increasing sophistication and volume of data helps or hinders creativity, with 41% insisting data does in fact help and 17% remaining undecided. Importantly, those that say it greatly hinders creativity are twice as likely to struggle with a lack of tools. Furthermore, responses suggest that 30% of marketing teams only review data once a quarter or less, and nearly half (43%) of CMOs feel the greatest barrier to getting value from their marketing data is related to company culture.

At the same time, the need for a dedicated marketing ops role to manage martech stacks has accelerated dramatically. 73% of CMOs are committed to introducing this role to their team: 45% already have someone in place, and a further 28% are currently hiring. Only 12% of CMOs have had one in place for more than a year.

Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO, Adverity said: “Modern marketers are faced with huge volumes of data streaming in from multiple sources, so it’s not at all surprising to see CMOs are focused on investing in people dedicated to managing the entire data stack. Without eyes on the big picture, insight-driven decision making becomes nearly impossible. It’s staggering that 30% are only reviewing their data sporadically – in today’s data-driven marketplace, brands are in danger of counting themselves out of the race if they don’t have a single unified view of performance, in real time. Now is the time for CMOs to champion change in company culture and embrace the opportunities that data brings.”

Other key findings from the survey include:


  • 66% of CMOs say it’s harder to hire new employees with a data background than to upskill their current team.
  • 36% said retention is becoming increasingly difficult, so even if marketers find a fantastic data hire, there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around.
  • Half (49%) agree the amount of manual reporting required is putting people off wanting to work in their marketing team.


  • CMOs are having trouble getting the rest of the C-suite on their side with 17% saying there is a lack of enthusiasm from leadership.
  • Cumbersome legacy workflows are having an impact on culture, and the silos and bottlenecks that come with them (15%).


  • 18% of respondents claim the biggest single reason they are struggling to get value from their data is a lack of tools to manage it.
  • 38% say not having the right tech to consistently deliver valuable insights from data is a hindrance, followed by having people with the right skill sets (19%).
  • 43% say their team spends more time getting data in one place than they do actually using it to make decisions, which can be time-consuming, inefficient and prone to human error.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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