Marketing Departments Suffer A Dearth Of Big Data

According to the Columbia Business School and the New York American Marketing Association’s Marketing Measurement in Transition Study, marketers' desire to be data-driven is not yet matched by a consistent effort to collect the data necessary to make these real-time decisions. 29% report that their marketing departments have "too little or no customer/consumer data."

When data is collected by marketers, says the report, it is often not appropriate to real-time decision making. 39% of marketers say that their data is collected "too infrequently or not real-time enough." Furthermore, marketers today are still much less likely to collect new forms of digital data like customer mobile device data (19% collect it), and social media data (35%), than they are to collect traditional customer survey data on demographics (74%) and usage (60%).

The study results focused on three main findings:

  • The failure of big data for marketing
  • Marketers are quick to adopt the newest digital tools, but struggle to measure them
  • ROI – marketers know they need it, but cannot agree on its meaning and implementation

The study found that marketers are struggling to measure the impact of the newest digital tools, despite the widespread adoption of these applications. 51% of marketers said they use mobile ads (in-app, or SMS); 85% use social network accounts (brand accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Foursquare). Yet these tools are among the least likely to be measured for ROI despite their profusion of data.

  • 14% of the social networking users are tying them to financial metrics
  • 17% of those using mobile ads are tying them to financial metrics
  • 41% of email marketers measure their results with financial metrics
  • 60% of companies report that comparing the effectiveness of marketing across their different digital media is "a major challenge."

The study also revealed that there is confusion about the meaning and significance of ROI among marketers.

  • 31% of respondents said that they believe simply measuring the audience you have reached is "marketing ROI"
  • 57% are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis
  • 28% are basing marketing budgets on gut instincts

21% are using financial metrics for "little" or "none" of their marketing budget and 7% are spending most or all of their marketing budget with "no metrics" at all. However, marketers are under pressure. 70% say that their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny than in the past.

After its analysis of the dynamic and challenging environment for marketing today, the report recommends that Chief Marketing Officers should focus on five key leadership imperatives:

  • Set objectives first
  • Design metrics to ensure marketing is linked to these objectives
  • Gather the right data for those metrics
  • Communicate to the entire organization what your objectives are and how they are being measured
  • Evaluate and reward employees in part on how well objectives are achieved

The study was piloted by Columbia Business School Marketing Professor Don Sexton, board member of the NYAMA, with David Rogers, Executive Director, BRITE.  253 corporate marketing decision makers, director-level and above, were surveyed, 90% representing a global annual revenue of over $50 million, with 45% over $1 billion.

Please visit here to access the full report



1 comment about "Marketing Departments Suffer A Dearth Of Big Data".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, March 29, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.

    Going just based on this write up (I have not yet read the full report), I find this inexcusable. The data is there. The problem is marketers who continue to use only traditional survey methods to collect traditional information. I can't understand why marketing and planning should not to be connected to media and the data it produces (because that's the way we do it). Media isn't just delivery, it's behavior. The metrics are there for analysis, interpretation and direction. Applying metrics and determining return is a full-time endeavor. Just make sure to look beyond audience reach (all that measures is the buy), to differing levels of engagement based on content and environment.The actual determination of ROI is still being debated. But, the opportunity for marketers to set baselines and develop useful metrics appropriate to each situation is right in front of us. All it requires is getting out of the chair, breaking down some walls and going to look at the media analytics.

    ---Jonathan Hutter---
    Managing Principal, Account Planning & Media -- Garrand

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