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A panel at Nielsen's Consumer360 Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo: @DanaGleeson via Twitter.

Marketing experts agreed Thursday that data analytics teams are not working closely enough with marketing and sales departments at major brands.

Why it matters: Data-driven marketing for direct-to-consumer products is exploding. But lack of collaboration between data teams and sales teams means that advertising and marketing efforts aren't customized enough to push products.

"To me it makes no sense. Quality people don't talk to quantity people."
— Ravi Dhar, Professor and Director at Yale's Center for Customer Insights Standard

For media companies, going direct-to-consumer with your content, through streaming and digital products, is crucial for recouping revenue in a weak advertising marketplace that's being dominated by tech.

  • "In this world, you have to have an ad sales strategy, but can't forget that you, too, need to be a direct brand that reaches consumers directly," says Radha Subramanyam, EVP, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, CBS Television Network at Nielsen's Consumer 360 annual summit.
  • CBS' marketing strategy is focused on going more direct-to-consumer, with streaming brands like CBS All Access and CBS Sports HQ, Subramanyam says. "We went from being majority ad-supported a few years ago to majority of revenue now coming from non-ad-supported resources"
  • NBC's marketing strategy similarly focuses on integrating its media mix modeling (MMM) team with its content team in order to create a marketing experience that responds to consumers' engagement with the brand.

For consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, connecting data to sales is a crucial part of making sure products move off of the shelves.

  • "All of forms commercial unit have to be on the front lines," says Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer of Chobani. "You have to develop products and advertising content all together." Chobani now has seven different teams — from data to analytics to sales and marketing — all housed under one demand marketing group.

Bottom line: Data teams need to be integrated with all other sales and marketing functions, but not all companies are structured that way.

  • "The average age of a CMO is pretty high and the average age of people who work in data is pretty low," says Dhar. "Especially with CPG companies, it's very rare that those teams aren’t in silos."

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