Survey Demonstrates The Benefits Of Big Data
Most marketers agree, Big data helps. It is an effective way to draw insights on consumer behavior and generate greater value from marketing campaigns.
The more a company feels that it is making use of big data, the more likely it is to meet or exceed its goals. Yet many companies still aren’t using big data as efficiently as they believe, and this may be because they don’t fully understand what big data is or its benefits.
Those were the main findings in a recent Forbes Insights paper, The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs. Based on a survey of 211 senior marketers, the project considered perceptions about the success of marketing initiatives, and the use and benefits of big data. It also considered the challenges in using big data and the growing import of artificial intelligence to keep pace with consumer trends. The surveyed executives represented companies with revenues of at least $500 million and marketing budgets of at least $10 million. Because of their size and resources, these organizations are marketing trendsetters.
The paper was produced in partnership with the advertising technology company Rocket Fuel.
Over the past three years, an increasing number of organizations have relied on the collection and analysis of huge volumes of data to guide their campaigns. Much of the evidence of success in their ability to reach and engage audiences has been anecdotal. The survey offered statistical underpinning that big data boosts marketing effectiveness.
Those organizations that seem to be making good use of big data are benefitting. At the same time, those that aren’t are less likely to achieve their desired results.
- Consider that:
Of the organizations that used big data at least half the time in their marketing campaigns, three in five (60%) said that they had exceeded their goals. Yet of the companies that used big data less than half the time, only one in three could say the same.
- More than nine in 10 companies (92%) who said that they had made sufficient use of big data met or exceeded their goals, while just 5% of those who made sufficient use of it fell short.
- Nearly three in four companies who used big data at least 50% of the time could measure the effects of multi-channel campaigns versus about one in two in the under 50% category. Seven in 10 firms in the 50% or more group said that they were able to pinpoint the right audience in all or most of their media activities, double the number in the under 50% group.
“We are getting much better ideas of where we are having an effect on our clients’ brand metrics and sales, and where we’re not,” said Paul Gunning president of the Chicago office of advertising agency DDB Worldwide.
Another leading practitioner of big data-based marketing, Theresa LaMontagne, managing partner, senior practice lead analytics and insights for MEC North America, said that her company had achieved an 8-23% sales lift via its proprietary data analytics system compared to initiatives that did not use this resource.
“The payback on the analytics is quite high,” LaMontagne said. “The range of lift varies depending on the client and sector.”
MEC is a New York-based media company.
But LaMontagne also said that the effectiveness of big data depends not only on the sheer quantity of information, but on how well organizations curate it. She said that “clean data” – relevant to the client and organized in a way that enables meaningful analysis – “requires a tremendous amount of rigor.”
It’s about creating consistent naming conventions, ensuring the accuracy of the underlying data – because it doesn’t matter how much data you have or how quickly you’re getting it, if it’s not aligned to the client’s business or how it views the category. It’s very easy to get apples to oranges if you are not careful.
The Forbes paper also found that many marketers are operating under the misguided belief that they are making sufficient use of big data. Just one in 10 survey respondents said that their organizations use it in most of their initiatives. This fact suggests that while big data has captured the business world’s imagination, its usage is not as widespread as it may soon be.
The problem may be a lack of understanding of big data or its benefits. Only a little over half the marketers said that their companies had a good understanding of big data. “Our understanding of data is changing rapidly,” said DDB’s Gunning. “We are using more than we ever have, and it is much more real-time.”
The paper also underscored the importance of being able to adapt marketing campaigns. More than a quarter of the marketers said that artificial intelligence – also called machine learning — systems that can generate data quickly and keep pace with consumers’ evolving behavior are important for their marketing. More than 40% said that artificial intelligence would be critical to future efforts.
“It’s not too preposterous to say you will be behind the curve if you are not leveraging machine-based optimization,” said Monik Sanghvi, chief strategy officer for Organic, a division of the marketing and advertising giant Omnicom. “We will have to be able to serve up relevant search engine results and deliver them in real time. It is critical.”