Marketers Not Confident In Their Big Data Efforts

Chris CrumAdvertising

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Infogroup has a new study out, which reports that 47% of marketers are seeing a return on their big data investments.

The study is based on a survey of nearly 600 marketers, and found that while over half of them express optimism about personalized marketing during this year, they're not so confident in the accuracy and completeness of their consumer data.

15% of them said their biggest challenge in 2015 is collecting data, while 21% say analyzing data is their biggest challenge. Over half primarily rely on high-level forms of personalization for campaigns.

According to the report, 53% of marketers "crave more information on their customers," while just 10% think they collect too much data. Over a third say they collect the right amount.

"The findings come as investment in data-driven marketing reaches a tipping point," says Infogroup. "More than three out of five companies (62 percent) have started investing in data marketing solutions. Investment in data-as-a-service or software-as-a-service (DaaS or SaasS) is up from 54 percent in 2013. And almost half of brands (47 percent) are already seeing a positive return on data-related investments, with another 15 percent expecting to see a payoff for the first time in 2015 – meaning the majority of marketers will be seeing ROI this year."

As the firm notes, its study suggests marketers understand that the data they have doesn’t provide the complete picture about customers.

“Although data-driven marketing is now the norm, marketers still thirst for more data,” said Infogroup president Gretchen Littlefield. “Even as they invest in DaaS and Saas and execute more sophisticated multi-channel campaigns, brands are seeking to continually deepen their understanding of customers by acquiring more meaningful data from multiple sources.”

The study found that just 21% of marketers are “very confident” in the accuracy and completeness of their customer profiles. 16% said data application will be their biggest data challenge this year.

Customer purchase history and third-party lists are the data sources marketers are relying on the most at 48% and 44% respectively. Web browsing history and social media posts are much lower at 16% and 12%.

Most (55%) marketers primarily rely on names to personalize campaigns, it found. 53% rely on demographic info. Less than a third use consumer interests, transaction and event triggers, or consumer interactions with brands.

Infogroup asked survey participants what stands in the way of implementing personalized campaigns. 40% blamed difficultly integrating across channels, while 35% said lack of quality customer data for segmentation, and 32% said fragmented systems.

You can find the full report here.

While he was writing specifically about Facebook, James Whatley, the social media director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, London, recently wrote, "Forget about big data. 2015 is about smart data."

"The thing that continuously blows minds is just how niche you can get with that detail," he said. "In the autumn of 2014, one enterprising data monkey even managed to get his targeting so perfect that he set about specifically serving ads to his roommate as part of an elaborate prank. That's mind blowing. In 2015, it would be great if the creative industries could get familiar with the smart data available to them."

While less than half of marketers may be seeing a return on their big data investments, perhaps Watley is on to something with his smart data remarks. Read our conversation with him here.

Image via ThinkStock

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.