Analytics and Insights Teams: Structures and Roles


How can I structure my organization to effectively leverage my analytics team?

Building a successful and efficient marketing analytics team is no easy task, especially now that technology is constantly booming and evolving, making it hard to keep up. Using a variety of tools and approaches when it comes to garnering data, analyzing it, and then creating actionable strategies is a multi-layered process that can elevate a brand's measurement, analytics, creative, and research abilities to engage with consumers at the right time and place.

It's not just about finding the right tools, however, but finding the right team and encouraging failure. Fostering a test and learn culture, and a culture where team members can take risks, is essential to growth. Ashish Joshi, senior director of global data, analytics, and data science at The Clorox Co., explained at an ANA conference:

"We have a few Ph.D.s, a few masters' degrees, and a few bachelors' degrees. They generally come from quant disciplines. There are people with data science, economics, and math backgrounds. We look for a few key things: quant and technical skills, business acumen, communication and interpersonal skills, and creativity. A lot of the problems we face on a daily basis require us to find creative new solutions."

Joshi also noted, "In terms of business ideas, we've instituted a robust process of testing, and we've run close to 50 in-market experiments. Fifty percent have been successful; the other 50 percent have failed. Our managers would always say, 'Your success rate is too high. You're not stretching far enough.'"

Building a strong foundation first, and then advancing analytics, was a major observation in a recent Gartner study. This approach also means companies need to set objectives and KPIs first to understand what to look for and focus on. For many companies, this means investing in AI capabilities to streamline processes and save time.

Efficiency is a major theme in the latest findings and choosing technology that fits a brand's needs uniquely. Deloitte's 2020 report found that 59 percent of respondents to Deloitte's Global CIO Survey identified AI as their organization's top investment area, with 70 percent likely to gain "AI capabilities through cloud-based enterprise software," and 65 percent likely to create "AI applications using cloud-based development services."

Below are case studies, brand examples, and best practices for analytics organization structures. 

Trends and Best Practices

  • Organizational Benchmark Study. Advertising Research Foundation/Analytics Council, May 2020.
    The ARF, with support from the Analytics Council, released a study that covered a range of topics. Regarding highly desirable skills and preferred techniques for data analysis, the report includes the below charts:

  • GRIT Report. GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report, February 2021.
    Based on data collected in Q4 2020, this regularly issued report covers a very broad range of topics, including the role of the insights group, evolving researcher role and skills, emerging research methods, research investment priorities and spending, adoption of emerging research methods, and much more. Sample findings from the report (Note: In this report and in the charts below, "Buyer" refers to client-side market researchers (and "Supplier" refers to market research companies):

  • Evolving Analytics' Operating Model Can Help Advance Companies' Digital Priorities. Deloitte, 2020.
    Fifty-nine percent of respondents to Deloitte's Global CIO Survey identified artificial intelligence and machine learning as their organization's top investment area. Cloud-based data platforms and analytics-as-a-service have made it easier and more cost-efficient to access analytics technologies through flexible consumption models. Deloitte looked at the trends driving organizations' increasing need for advanced analytics and a new data analytics organizational structure, and the benefits to the organization as a whole:


  • Gartner Marketing Data and Analytics Survey 2020: Analytics Teams Must Upskill to Adapt to Automation. Gartner, October 2020.
    Marketers invest sizable resources in analytics, but many aren't getting the payoff they expect. To extract more value from analytics, marketing leaders must focus on building skills that address the reasons analytics are underperforming — and concentrating on value-adding analytics activities outside those that are or soon will be automated. Gartner believes that marketing analytics teams currently spend too much time on low-value tasks, such as data integration and formatting, ad hoc queries and requests, and generating reports and dashboards — activities that are ripe for automation.

  • Here's How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Analytics Investment. Marketing Land, April 2019.
    Companies today are clearly not demonstrating consistent return on that investment, a problem which often stems from a lack of marketing analytics leaders and the organizational structure necessary to effectively translate data and insights into action. To discuss this in more detail, Marketing Land chatted with Gartner to explore what CMOs and marketing leaders can do to buck the prediction and drive stronger results for their marketing analytics investment. The conversation solidified five ways CMOs can improve return on their marketing analytics investment, while also reinforcing why it matters:
    • Build organizational structure to apply better data.
    • Develop analytics leaders who bridge both data science with marketing strategy.
    • Hire a Chief Analytics Officer, or up-level the importance of analytics.
    • Focus on better data, not big data
    • Separate the signal from the noise to predict and optimize business outcomes.
  • Tools and Best Practices on the Consumer Insights Function. Boston Consulting Group.
    Many companies lack reliable customer data and have insufficient insights into customer behavior. Here, you can explore BCG's thought leadership on customer insights for underexplored growth opportunities for your business. Especially see the following:


    • Advice on Data and Analytics from Wharton. ANA, June 2020.
      Mary Purk, Director of Wharton Customer Analytics, at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, addressed a meeting of the ANA's Data and Analytics committee. She devoted part of her talk to explaining her institution's approach to fostering collaboration between companies and students to advance the way in which both approach data and analytics. She began however, by describing some of the challenges that organizations face. By way of context, she examined the transformations that data and analytics has lately undergone in four areas.

    • Building an In-House Analytics Team. ANA, December 2018.
      Over many years, Clorox has built out its in-house analytics capabilities. Along the way, it uncovered key elements of success, which they shared here.

    • Analytics, Organizational Structure, and Capitalizing on Location Data. ANA, September 2018.

      As Office Depot transformed its marketing approach to include more muscular digital capabilities, it found considerable success using location data, providing lessons that the brand shared.


  • Good as Goal: How to Set KPIs, Track Progress, and Take Charge of Your Organization’s Future. ANA, August 2019.
    There's a lot involved in setting up an analytics measurement plan. The pressure to meet and exceed your goals can feel overwhelming — especially when you're not even sure what your goals should be. Whether you're feeling hesitant to throw out numbers you might not meet or wanting things to get better but don't know how much better they can get, let's look at some common organizational challenges and how those can guide you to creating realistic, yet ambitious, goals. In this webinar, learn why your organization/department should set goals, how to choose your KPI's (key performance indicators), how to create realistic, yet ambitious goals, and ways to monitor and optimize toward your goals.

  •  Advancing Your Analytics Culture to Supercharge Your Company’s Performance. ANA, May 2019.
    Wondering why, despite having the latest, cutting edge analytics tools and building out a sophisticated data lake, you aren't achieving the business result improvements you expected? Overwhelmed by having to select and implement complex measurement and data solutions and concerned about the payoff? In this webinar, learn what organizations with an advanced analytics culture do differently to achieve demonstrable financial returns compared to those just starting out. During this webinar, the presenter reviewed a framework for evaluating your organization's analytics maturity, discussed the key organizational factors that enable analytics maturity growth, and provided practical steps you can take whether you are a starting, developing, or mastering analytics company.


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"Best Practices for Analytics Organizational Structure." ANA, September 2021.