I’m a big fan of events. The gathering of people with common interests. The suspension of normal routines to commune with each other. New ideas and relationships forged, old ones strengthened. It is always an honour to be invited to speak, and an even more gratifying when asked to curate the content. But often, it is fun to be one of the participants and enjoy the discussions swirling around during sessions and breaks alike.

For the past four weeks, I’ve been watching the DMEXCO agenda unfold. The expected audience of 32,000 marketers will be in Cologne over 2 days to learn and share ideas and experiences.  With the ambition of Connecting the Global Digital Economy, the keynote programme spans disruption, transformation, context, experience, mobility, post-advertising, China, diversity, monetisation and IoT. Something for everyone, I hear you say. And yet, a gaping void. How are analytics capabilities being developed?

The strong, silent type

Let’s consider for a moment the impact of digital disruption within the marketing discipline. Customers use multiple channels seamlessly, and brands need to understand drivers and triggers. Analytics makes it possible to chart preferences, and predict channel effectiveness. Or context – realtime or not, you need analytics to understand or anticipate the nature of the engagement, and serve up the right content or experience.

As the digital economy marches on, demand for analytics has been steadily rising. Even if few have the courage to discuss capability development. No surprise then that vacancies and salaries have grown. McKinsey projects that by 2018, the U.S. alone may face a 50 percent to 60 percent gap between supply and requisite demand of deep analytic talent. Should analytics be treated as a niche capability – accessible by only a talented minority?

A more sustainable approach

It seems clear that line managers need to become more comfortable with the analytics discussion. Whether it is strategy development, organisational alignment or performance measurement, analytics will be playing an increasingly critical role in determining success of the marketing discipline. Shouldn’t marketers develop their understanding and capabilities?

Fortunately something can be done about this. The deeper role of analytics in mature digital marketing environments needs more airtime. While working on potential messaging at the event with the SAS team, we realised a social discussion on this topic will help brads and their agencies develop better digital roadmaps. Which is why I am looking forward to facilitating a tweetchat on Wednesday, Sept 16th on this topic. Join us at #SASdmexco, and let’s make the analytics job ahead a little easier. We plan this to be the first in a series of social conversations to drive wider discussions.

Disclosure: SAS is a client. 

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