Businesses see the value in big data analytics, but struggle to implement adequate structures claims Teradata

Most businesses can see the value in big data analytics, but struggle when it comes to unravelling the insights that such data can deliver. That claim is made by Teradata in its recently released Teradata Data Driven Marketing Survey 2013, conducted through a blind survey of 2,200 marketers worldwide in March and May this year.

What is meant by ‘data-driven marketing’? Well, Teradata defines it as the combination of collecting and connecting large amounts of data, rapidly analysing it and gaining insights, and then bringing those insights to market via marketing interactions tailored to what’s relevant for each customer. However, Teradata acknowledges that the concept of marketing being data-driven is by no means a new phenomenon. Wes Moore, Teradata Applications’ vice president argued that data-driven marketing has probably existed since the beginning of marketing. What’s changed is that the channels and the expectations of the consumer are changing, so the need for marketers to be more data-driven is becoming increasingly important.

Most businesses already leverage data. However, Moore believes the survey indicates that most marketers rely on a number of common and easily accessible forms of data to drive their marketing initiatives. The figures show that more than 75 per cent of those surveyed used customer service data, customer satisfaction data, digital interaction data and demographic data. What’s more, 50 per cent of marketers said they’ve taken a further step and started to use other data like customer engagement, transactional or e-commerce data.

The problem, according to Teradata is that many businesses struggle to get the most out of the information they have at their disposal. Data-driven marketing doesn’t just require the capability to collect and analyse massive amounts of complicated, unstructured data: it also requires that marketers combine the traditional data their companies have collected – the so-called ‘data hairball’ – with interaction data (like data pulled from social media), integrating both online and offline data sources to create a single view of their customer:

“It’s about really understanding that customer from an online and offline perspective; a 360 degree view,” Moore says. “Marketers are struggling to stitch that view together. You have to have that in place first before you can do other elements. First you’ve got to get that insight.”

Teradata found that many marketers were pessimistic about their ability to leverage data: nearly 50 per cent of marketers polled felt that data was the most underutilized asset in their organization, yet less than 10 per cent of respondents felt their organisation was using the data they already had in a systematic way. Only 18 per cent of marketers claimed to have a single, integrated view of customer actions.

Moreover, 75 per cent of marketers said the lack of system integration made it difficult for them to calculate their Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), and 65 per cent reported that data silos within their marketing departments prevent them from having a holistic view of a campaign across channels.

These reasons, Moore argues, are key drivers for marketing to deploy a big data analytics solution within the next few years. Even then, Teradata says many will continue to wrestle with this data hairball, as only 57 per cent of marketers plan to deploy a real-time actioning solution to complement the analytics solution within the same time period.

While most marketing departments are already headed in the right direction when it comes to leveraging their data, they face hurdles. Teradata says these hurdles are often not the result of technology adoption, but a shortage of data analytics skills and a reliance on unrefined processes: 42 per cent of companies polled listed a lack of processes to bring insights into their decision making as their main barrier to using data in decision making.

Teradata also found that 48 per cent of all marketers still only use data on an ad hoc basis: only 33 per cent had embedded data systematically or strategically included in their standard processes:

“You’ve got to have tools in place to allow you to be more agile at what you do,” Moore said. “You’ve got to automate processes. Many marketers still rely on the number one tool on the globe – Excel spreadsheets. You’ve got to find ways to be more optimized.”

However, all that is set to change according to Teradata. 80 per cent of marketers said that within two years they will have implemented or begun projects to automate data quality, performance management and marketing workflow processes; within the next 12 months, 56 per cent of marketers expected to be using data to systematically drive their marketing.