New Study: Marketers Struggle with “Big Data” & Digital Tools

March 20, 2012

I am delighted to release the results of a major new study I’ve just completed on the changing practices of large corporations in: usage of “big data”, marketing measurement and ROI, and the integration of digital and traditional marketing. (Download here.)
I co-authored the study with Professor Don Sexton, on behalf of Columbia’s Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA). Our findings have already been reported in numerous publications this week, including Forbes, and the front-page story of Ad Age.
The study’s results focus on 3 main findings:
  1. The failure of “Big Data” for marketing
  2. Marketers are quick to adopt the newest digital tools, but struggle to measure them
  3. ROI – marketers know they need it, but cannot agree on its meaning and implementation
39% of marketers say they can't turn their data into actionable insight
Sample findings:
  • 91% of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data to drive marketing decisions
  • Yet, 39% say their own company’s data is collected too infrequently or not real-time enough
  • And 51% say that a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI
  • Large firms are much less likely to collect new forms of digital data like mobile data (19%), than they are to collect traditional customer survey data such as on demographics (74%) and attitude (54%)
  • 85% of large corporations are now using social network accounts (e.g. brand accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare) as a marketing tool
  • 65% of marketers said that comparing the effectiveness of marketing across different digital media is “a major challenge” for their business
  • 37% of respondents did not include any mention of financial outcomes when asked to define what “marketing ROI” meant for their own organization
  • 57% are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis
Table 3: Adoption rate of new digital tools
After detailed analysis of the 3 main findings, the report concludes with five key leadership recommendations for Chief Marketing Officers.
>> Download the full report here.
The BRITE-NYAMA Marketing Measurement in Transition Study was sponsored by Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA). The study was made possible with support from Research Now and GreenBook. Results were first released at the Center’s fifth annual BRITE conference on May 5, 2012.
253 corporate marketing decision makers, director-level and above, were surveyed online between January 27 and February 8, 2012. These professionals are employed at large companies (90 percent have a global annual revenue of over $50 million; 45 percent are over $1 billion). Respondents were from b2c and b2c companies in diverse industries.
Happy reading!
The Rise of the Networked Organization
Interview: ROI and Best Practices for Digital Marketing