Predictions are notoriously difficult, and when it comes to the rapidly changing context of marketing and analytics, they become nearly impossible. But they also are necessary to help analytics providers, advertisers, and consumers plot their next moves. To address both these challenges, a new collaboration called Insight2020 will take up the charge in an effort to define best analytics practices, needs for the future, and ways to attract and retain talented employees in the industry.

The plan for this collaborative effort follows the example set by a similar initiative, Marketing2020, that outlined the future for marketing organizations. Using feedback gathered from marketing professionals in more than 90 countries, the Markting2020 results highlighted the rapid changes in the industry. In particular, they noted the shift in the types of data available: Whereas previously, marketers relied on information about the previous quarter that they received from third parties or retailers, today they can use primary data obtained in real-time from actual consumers.

Business people working in teleconferenceThe capabilities associated with such rapid, mobile data in turn should lead to new insights. But those insights can be challenging to uncover, so a panel of experts will continue the predictive work. Spanning members of academia, marketing executives, digital experts, and advertisers, the panel has three key goals related to the future of analytics. First, it wants to identify the companies that already are doing the best work when it comes to gathering, organizing, and leveraging consumer insights. Second, it seeks to define the sorts of resources and services that marketing researchers and analytics firms need to develop to be able to adapt to and change with the rapidly shifting digital technology that underlies their efforts. Third, the panel will create recommendations for tactics to attract talent into the industry, then retain those people over time.

According to one of the leaders of the initiative, the broader goal is even more simple: survival. If analytics firms cannot keep up with innovations, due to technology and data advances, they cannot expect to remain in business for long.

Discussion Question

  1. What companies can you think of that seem to be doing cutting-edge analytics work already?

Source: Jack Neff, “Unilever CMO Leads Effort to Map Future of Marketing Research and Analytics,” Advertising Age, May 5, 2015