Market adoption is often an interesting thing to watch. When it is business technology that is being discussed, adoption and control over the specific application of the technology within an organization becomes almost predictable. When the technology is marketing and sales related, its domination within a company’s culture often migrates to C-suite executives as it becomes more successful.

Early adopters of marketing technologies are often individuals and Twitter is a great example of this scenario. Dominated by people first, it gained traction as early marketer users began to join in and leverage it for marketing and branding purposes. This market traction brought in the more experienced marketers, brands and agencies that ultimately propel its use to greater heights. As we have seen with Twitter and more generally social media, the last bastion to adopt, get behind and ultimately control it are top executives or the “C-suite“. Once executives began to lead corporate responsibility for the importance of social media from the top down, you then started to see the level of focus, sophistication and most importantly budget and culture that was dedicated to the endeavor.

Executives Primarily Responsible For Data & Analytics Agenda

Data and Analytics are a business and marketing category that appears to be following the same trend internationally. Recent data shows that a growing number of large companies have slowly migrated the analytics and data agenda responsibility to Sr. Executives.

According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company that interviewed executives on their organizations’ analytics strategies, the C-suite is taking on the agenda and doing so quite seriously. Here is the list of top executive roles which are now responsible for the agenda around analytics and data.

38%   Chief Executive Officer

13%   Chief Information Officer

11%   Chief Marketing Officer

11%   Business Unit Heads

10%   Chief Financial Officer

5%   Chief Data/Analytics Officer

Do you think that these large corporations have realized the value of data within their organizations and the importance of analytics to their success? It is quite clear that is the case and the reason for their involvement and control is even more clear.

Sr. Leadership Impact On Data and Analytics Effectiveness

25% of the respondents of the study say that Sr. Management involvement was the most significant reason for their organizations’ effectiveness at data and analytics. Though twenty-five percent may seem to be a small number of the overall reasons for a company’s data and analytics effectiveness, but I suggest that you don’t underestimate the impact.

If you have been in business for any length of time, you know that what company executives make important and a priority within an organization is what will get attention. The corporate culture and mindset surrounding the various endeavors and responsibilities all come from the top down. When company leadership takes a significant role in something, you can be confident that it will become a priority. That is what we are seeing here.

The study proves this out by showing that organizations that say they are performing highly with their data and analytics initiatives have a much higher rate of CEO and Sr. Executive leadership roles within the company data and analytics.

As CEO’s and other c-suite executives take on agenda responsibilities for data and analytics or at least are highly involved in it, the entire company increases their proficiency around that focus. Existing leadership and staff are forced into being more educated and effective at understanding and using company data resources to make strides in their various responsibilities. Moreover, as senior leadership make data and analytics important, additional analytical talent is likely to be brought in to assist with the drive toward proficiency.

Data and Analytics Pressures On B2B, SaaS and Startup Brands

Data and analytics are foundational to B2B brands, especially those within the SaaS and internet startup space. The amount of data that is now available to both established and startup B2B brands is staggering, and managing that data properly in order to make it useful should be a high priority.

As a priority, big data and predictive analytics can be utilized to achieve more effective results across an organization. However, startup and B2B brands are faced with both technical and talent challenges that can make it more challenging. Costs, application implementations and expertise are all a substantial barrier for the average startup to effectively implement analytics and data programs within their business. Having initiatives that achieve intended goals of sales, marketing and revenue growth are a higher bar. And these are not small challenges.

The need to optimize the customer sales funnel, having the ability to uncover opportunities for efficiency and increased results, places data and analytics as a key component of any startup today. Just as with the large corporations, that I referenced earlier, the key to successful data and analytics initiatives resides with top-level executives driving the agenda. Even if your startup SaaS or B2B company is at the crossroads of an industry revolutionary product or service, it will be extremely challenging to displace larger competitors that have a good data game.

Make analytics and data a priority within your organization and drive the agenda surrounding your corporate culture that will ensure that your team understands the importance and how to implement it. Finally, seek out data and analytics talent for your company early in your development and growth. The staffing pressures surrounding these specialties are going to increase dramatically over the next few years. Waiting will be a bad move.