IBM: Marketers suffering data overload

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In today’s digitally connected world marketers are acquiring consumer data at greater speeds and in larger volumes than ever before. It pours in from social media such as Facebook and Twitter. On the surface that sounds like great news, but in reality the sheer amount of data is overwhelming marketers.

Furthermore, IBM estimates 90% of real-time data being collected isn’t being effectively used. It’s not fed into databases or documents but remains unstructured and difficult to analyze.

Of the 1,700 CMOs that took part in face-to-face interviews for IBM’s study (video) the vast majority (80%) said they continue to rely on traditional market research channels and techniques or sales campaign analysis (68%) to guide marketing strategies. Just over a quarter (26%) track blogs and 40% track “any online communications”.

And yet, despite being unable to use the tidal waves of consumer data generated by social media, 82% of CMOs said they plan to increase their use of the channel over the course of the next 3 to 5 years.

“Customers are sharing their experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands. This shift in the balance of power from organizations to their customers requires new marketing approaches, tools and skills in order to stay competitive,” said IBM.

“More than 50% of CMOs think they are underprepared to manage key market forces – from social media to greater customer collaboration and influence – indicating that they will have to make fundamental changes to traditional methods of brand and product marketing.”

The future of marketing, says IBM marketing executive Marcel Holsheimer, will be much more of an “automated and software play”. The trend towards using social media analysis as part of business intelligence is growing with companies such as Radian6 and Sysomos offering dashboards and tools. IBM themselves have spent billions of dollars acquiring data analytics companies in preparation for new demand.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, FaithandValues.com and with Threshold Media.