SYDNEY: Over four-fifths of CMOs in Australia are "overwhelmed" by customer data analytics and the industry is going backwards in its efforts to deal with it, the chief executive of the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) has said.

Speaking at the Oracle Marketing Cloud conference in Sydney, Jodie Sangster said the proportion of CMO's saying they were overwhelmed by data had grown to 82% from 72% five years ago and that part of the problem could be attributed to a lack of suitable personnel.

"Part of the challenge is the big skills gap we have in Australia around data analytics and true data driven marketing," she said, in comments reported by Mumbrella. "The pool of people is quite small that we can draw from and we are all pinching people from each other's companies."

She added that another problem facing the industry is that education courses and their three-year timeframe to change a curriculum "are not keeping up" with rapid changes.

Marketing creativity also risks getting lost amid the focus on technology and data, she warned, as she advised marketers not to overlook the importance of establishing an emotional connection with consumers.

"In this automated world we can't forget the human element, the part that says I really like that brand, I understand it, it resonates. That's what creativity can do," she said.

She went on to warn companies that they should not regard recently enacted privacy legislation as a legal requirement, but rather as good business practice for winning the trust of customers.

An ADMA survey of 1,500 consumers earlier this year found the majority of Australians were content to share their data as long as they were not asked to provide too much information and that firms used the data correctly.

"There has to be a benefit for the customer to feel comfortable about giving their data which is perhaps why there is less trust at the tail end," she said.

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff