Marketers are all atwitter over the promise that so-called “big data”—the torrent of structured and unstructured data now being gathered and analyzed by companies and organizations of all stripes—will give them a more complete understanding of each customer.But organizational hurdles and barriers to data implementation still stand in the way of their realization of that dream, new research suggests.
For marketers, the grail is advertising targeted to the individual. Standing in the way, though, is a lack of digital insight and internal data sharing, search company eMarketer reports.
More than half (51 percent) of U.S. marketers said their biggest "big data" challenge was the lack of sharing of data among company departments, according to research from Columbia Business School's Center on Global Brand Leadership and the New York American Marketing Association (NYAMA).
And even when that data is readily available, 42 percent of respondents said it was still too difficult to tie that data back to individual customers and 45 percent said personalizing marketing communications — closely related to linking data to customers — was a major challenge.
Timeliness is another major challenge cited by marketers. A good portion (39 percent) of marketers reported difficulty collecting customer data fast enough — a mandatory requirement for brands hoping to achieve immediate message personalization.
Columbia Business School and NYAMA found the most popular data types collected by U.S. marketers were demographic information (74 percent), customer transaction data (64 percent) and customer usage data (60 percent). Though digital channels are typically more robust sources of data, just 35 percent of marketers monitored social media content, 33 percent social network influencers and 19 percent customer mobile data.
"Without the ability to integrate Big Data collection and usage processes, companies are certain to fall short in delivering a truly personalized customer experience integrated across ad formats and channels,
eMarketer reported. "Such a mandate is of significant importance as consumers increasingly interact with brands across multiple channels and screens. Those who succeed first in using Big Data will have an edge over brands and marketers who are unable to tie information to action."