What To Do With All That Data?

Marketers agree customer data drives marketing decisions. Good thing, because advertisers continue to collect mounds of it from mobile, search, social media and more. The problem is that marketers often fail to use this data properly.

In a recent study of 253 corporate marketing decision-makers by Research Now on behalf of Columbia Business School and the New York American Marketing Association,  36% said they have "lots of customer data," but just "don’t know what to do with it." Thirty nine percent of marketers admit they cannot turn their data into actionable insight, which presents a major problem. In many companies, the effective use of data for marketing decisions lags behind the desire to do so.

It turns out one of the biggest obstacles to turning data into actionable insight is that companies don't share data across departments and partners effectively, a topic we will tackle on an OMMA Global panel next week. In the past the departments like sales, marketing, customer service, public relations, and supply chain typically used their own datasets, keeping the information in silos.



The promise of big data analytics is based on the ability to link together the silos to better understand interactions between firm, customer, and business partners. Enterprise companies have been doing this for years. Now it's time for online marketing to join in.

The study also found nearly all corporate marketers participating in the survey -- 91% --believe successful brands use customer data to drive marketing decisions. This sentiment remains consistent, with no industry measured below 83%. Among respondents who are at the CMO level of their organizations, agreement rose to 100%.

Some 74% of survey respondents admit their companies collect demographic data, 64% customer transaction data, 60% customer use transactional data, 35% social media content created by customers and targets digital data, and 19% collect customer mobile phone and device digital data. 29% said that their marketing departments have "too little or no" customer data.

1 comment about "What To Do With All That Data?".
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  1. Jeffrey Hupe from Phronesis Group, March 14, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.

    As a Strategic Growth management consultant, the biggest challenge that I have heard globally from CEO's is that the siloed data is being created by their siloed organizations. The reason these silos exist is because the service providers in the market sell fragmented solutions which have never had an ability to work across business functions. This occurrence means unmeaningful software, infrastructure, analytics, and data/insights investments.

    I was told by the leader of one of the largest global CPG manufacturers three weeks ago that the biggest proposition missing in the marketplace is an integrator with an unbiased affinity to any one of the siloed functions I listed earlier. This integrator also possesses an intricate skill set to strategically look across an org. and Translate & Interpret business challenges into data requirements and then once the insight comes back from analytical modeling that is relevant to the business and the challenge, Translate that insight into meaningful strategic business theory to solve the problem. Measurement benchmarks are set and it evolves into a smart system that fuels insight that is useful and is measured.

    This answers the question of how an organization can utilize the massive amounts of data to make the right business decisions. And one last critical piece that the CEO desires; the integrator must be able to build governance within the client organization and build stakeholder value business cases for the heads of every silo. Once the silos see that the CEO has endorsed the governance, and, each of them understands the value they can gain, all will play well on the playground. It truly works.

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