The power of data maturity in marketing

Understanding data is the key to growth and resilience, states MMA’s Melis Ertem

A decade ago, McKinsey Global Institute called Big Data “The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity”.

Since then, the role of data in business has evolved; elevating decision-making, deepening customer understanding and enhancing operational efficiency.

Data maturity is a vital measurement for business. It gauges how advanced a company is at analysing statistical information. With that, comes a sliding scale of adoption; from industry to
industry, business to business and department to department. A high level of data maturity signifies a deep integration with data playing a part in every organisational decision.

Organisations with a high level of data maturing report increased revenue, efficiency and supercharged growth. It’s clear that in a world of analytics, understanding data is the key to growth and resilience but what does big data mean for marketers?

What are the benefits for marketing teams? And what are the challenges that marketers are facing?


Simply put, by leveraging organisational data, marketers can make more effective decisions, quicker. Key benefits include improving customer engagement, building brand awareness, improving pricing decisions and ultimately optimising company performance.

Insights from the latest UAE Data Maturity Map from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) showed that companies across the UAE are experiencing increased marketing productivity by leveraging in-house data sets.

Over 50 per cent of organisations who contributed to the UAE Data Maturity Map reported seeing ‘a lift in marketing productivity by leveraging data’. Of that, 29 per cent saw a ‘high lift’ in marketing efficiency from leveraging consumer data in marketing initiatives compared to the expectations of the organisation.

A data-driven approach not only streamlines decision-making processes but also fosters a more personalised and responsive relationship between brands and customers. In essence, harnessing a data-driven approach does deliver ROI.

The benefits to gaining data maturity are clear but the reality is that many organisations struggle to understand and manage their data.


On a practical level, one of the biggest barriers for marketers is handling organisational data; navigating data silos, inconsistent data quality and legal requirements. Silos prevent cross-functional collaboration and hinder access to valuable insights, while poor data quality undermines the reliability of analyses and decision-making.

The process is not always straightforward, as demonstrated by nearly one-quarter of
UAE Data Maturity Map respondents lack the tools to measure marketing data efficiency.

Melis Ertem, Managing Director Turkey & MEA at MMA Global said: “Marketers still face challenges in accessing and using data effectively. There’s a noticeable focus on building first-party data, showing an increased awareness of its value.

However, progress in integrating data can be slow, making it difficult to centralise and share data across the organisation.”

On a cultural level, transitioning to a data first approach to every level of an organisation demands dedicated leadership. Effective leaders recognise the transformative potential of data and actively promote its use as a strategic asset to drive organisational success.


To leverage the power of data, marketers must invest; invest in themselves and invest in supporting tools. The MMA’s UAE Data Maturity Map identified employee training as a ‘key area for focus and significant improvement’ with 59 per cent seeing existing training as minimal, inconsistent and outdated, and 17 per cent receiving no training at all.

When it comes to investing in martech, 38 per cent of businesses in the UAE Data Maturity Map have already invested in first-class marketing technology and around 50 per cent are actively acquiring tools.

On a regional level, according to 2023 International Data Corporation (IDC) research, 43 per cent of UAE organisations consider big data and analytics among the emerging technologies they plan to significantly increase investments in 2024.


Achieving data maturity is a transformative journey for marketers, requiring the strategic navigation of challenges, adoption of advanced technologies and cultivation of a data-driven organisational culture.

On a practical level, by breaking down data silos marketers can gain a comprehensive understanding of their audience, enabling informed decision-making and competitive advantage.

Embracing predictive analytics and machine learning facilitates actionable insights, optimising marketing strategies and resource allocation.

However, true data maturity extends beyond technology. It requires a cultural shift towards prioritising data-driven decision-making across all levels of the organisation. Through this holistic approach, marketers can harness the full potential of data to drive organisational growth and innovation.

By Melis Ertem, Managing Director at MMA