Futility and other feelings:
a marketing analytics study

Task Prioritization

The frustrations listed above are generated through tasks. If tasks are poorly defined and there’s no clear goal set, it is easy to perceive such tasks as pointless, without direction, and non–rewarding. If something isn’t important, and it’s tedious and time-consuming, it’s definitely a task that no one would like to do. Even when it is important, the work can become burdensome due to the time and tedium it requires. And now everybody’s frustrated.

As we have dealt with the frustrations in a separate section, we want to take a closer look at how different tasks are perceived by examining two distinct categories. We want to know how important some tasks feel and how difficult they seem to people at the same time. Here’s what we found.

Important Difficult Task
54% 19% Communicating with our clients.
53% 32% Monitoring results.
47% 21% Creating campaigns.
46% 20% Making content.
42% 40% Making data-driven decisions.
42% 37% Making sure we're on track with KPIs.
38% 33% Writing clear and detailed reports.
38% 13% Briefing the team.
33% 34% Coordinating with other teams.
29% 15% Engaging with the community.
15% 52% Doing complex data analysis.

We ranked tasks by importance, but it’s essential to take note of the perceived difficulty as well. The most important task for 54% of participants is communicating with clients and only 19% find it difficult to do. Based on this data, we can conclude that communication with clients is highly valued and not overly cumbersome, and while it certainly generates some frustration, it’s not perceived as such since there’s clarity, purpose, or reward as a result of such interactions.

But to find out what’s really frustrating we should look at tasks that are difficult but not that important, as well as tasks that scored pretty high on both scales.

A hand-drawn illustration of a hand holding a camera with a flash.

Complex data analysis is difficult, period. Frustrations that can be related to data analysis fall in the top half of the frustration list, which is understandable — it’s complicated,  overwhelming, easy to make mistakes, constantly shifting, etc. But we can’t say it’s not important, especially today. So why do only 15% of people consider it important?

Making data-driven decisions is both important and tough to do. A marketer has to make a decision, based on a bunch of factors, to produce the best possible result. There’s a need for reliable data to inform decision-making, and we can find relatable frustrations ranking high, especially when sometimes making data-driven decisions boils down to choosing between A and B. So why is it that difficult and frustrating? And how does this relate to the relatively low importance of complex data analysis?

Keeping an eye on KPIs should also be pretty straightforward, especially if we consider that the majority of people track between 5 and 7 KPIs. But apparently, it’s not that simple and it doesn’t add up. Remember, the ultimate frustration is the futility of reporting, feeling that no one reads our reports, emails, and insights — and it’s not about being unable to keep an eye on 5 numbers. So if it’s that simple, then why are data analysis and decision-making hard? 

What now? We got it that different people have different needs, wants, and reasons for considering data-related tasks difficult — but then again, there’s the data that shows a shared sentiment. For example, we can all agree that no one likes the increasing number of digital marketing channels. So is there something else that all this data is telling us?

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