Business software providers like IBM, SAP and Oracle are pouring substantial resources, not to mention their fair share of money, into growing their Big Data analytics platforms for sales and marketing shops. But a new study from Neolane, a marketing software provider, and the Direct Marketers Association (DMA) suggests that those efforts are failing to reach a majority of marketers.
As Neolane summarized in a company blog post, "most marketing departments are ill-equipped to handle the growing influx of data and are behind in planning for tremendous growth." While conducting a survey of 250 mid- and executive-level marketers during the third quarter of 2012, the companies discovered that a majority (60 percent) don't have or lack direct knowledge of a specific strategy for dealing with Big Data challenges.
Big Data Difficulties
Data mining and analysis emerged as the biggest Big Data challenge, cited by 53 percent of respondents. Determining how market departments can leverage increasing stores of data was a concern for 28 percent of respondents.
Just managing all of that data is a problem for a significant number of businesses. Seventeen percent described Big Data storage and access as a problem.
For many organizations, there is a profound disconnect between IT and marketing departments. When asked if they work together on customer outreach, only 40 percent answered "yes." Twenty-one percent answered "no," while 39 percent expressed uncertainty.
Data governance presents a particularly thorny problem for marketing organizations. Among those polled, 81 percent said they were "either somewhat or not very prepared" to follow new rules and regulations that govern the management of marketing data.
The study also hints that many marketers are having trouble finding their footing amid a changing landscape. Citing the growth of social media and mobile channels, 50 percent reported that skill sets are shifting.
Not Blind to Big Data Benefits
Despite their negative views, marketers aren't blind to Big Data's benefits.
Fifty-seven percent said the technology's biggest benefit is its ability to "drive greater campaign conversion rates through greater insight." Offering a window into consumer behavior was a major selling point for 34 percent of survey takers.