The results of a recent global marketing survey by Teradata provide a number of insights and issues that deserve our attention as marketers. Most of these issues are focused on how to implement big data solutions within a company, and then, once implemented, how to strategically employ these solutions.

The study indicates that marketers are the most advanced adopters of big data tech. In fact, 71% look forward to putting big data solutions in play within the next two years. This should come as no surprise – innovative marketers are looking to be the first to use big data effectively.

However, adopting big data tech and knowing how to use it are two different things. The survey also indicated that of these marketers, 75% do not know how to calculate ROI on these investments.

According to the study, “Most marketers trying to calculate ROI report having problems because their systems do not allow them to manage and consolidate the data they need. This makes it hard to connect earnings to market activity.” This is troublesome because, as with any new technology or capability, marketers need to prove to management that the investment in big data solutions will benefit the company and drive improved marketing capabilities.

ZDnet’s article on the study, with a bit of black humor, points out, “The irony here is striking: marketers are having difficulty measuring and evaluating data driven marketing, the very underpinning of which is measurement and evaluation.”

The quote above from the Teradata study suggests that structural issues and a lack of data integration could be impeding marketers’ ability to successfully calculate the ROI of big data solutions. After all, if marketers cannot consolidate the huge amounts of data at their disposal, how can they get a clear picture of how their investments have paid off? It would be like trying to navigate out on the open ocean without knowing any constellations to guide one’s way! After all, to untrained eyes, the night sky is simply a mass of stars.

As marketers, we are still seeking the solutions that will allow us to manage and consolidate the data necessary to prove that our investments are paying off. It may still seem as though we are swimming through uncharted waters, but the more we learn, the more the picture unfolds! If you’d like to draw your own maps, you can find the full report here.

DMA Education also offers a number of online courses designed to help you make the most of your marketing department. There is also an upcoming Data Matters workshop in New York City, June 9-10, which focuses on data governance and best practices. Register today and don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain crucial insights on data use for your organization! You’ll also want to mark your calendars for March, 2015 for DMA’s upcoming marketing analytics conference, NCDM15.


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