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Report: The Role of Big Data in the Marketing Industry

Marketers are moving from the information-gathering stage to the analytics phase of big data adoption. But a downturn in hiring could stall big data implementation.

A new study from Infogroup Targeting Solutions found that companies will continue spending heavily on big data marketing initiatives in 2014, but fewer companies plan to hire for data-related positions.

Infogroup Targeting Solutions "The survey findings also indicate that marketers are moving from the information-gathering stage to the analytics phase of big data adoption. But a downturn in hiring could stall big data implementation, as the need for human capital is greatest during the analysis and action stages", said David McRae, president of Infogroup Targeting Solutions.

The survey, which was conducted at the Direct Marketing Association's 2013 Annual Conference, also found that while some DMA2013 survey respondents acknowledged barriers to big data adoption ranging from limited budgets to fragmented systems, half of the marketers surveyed by ITS are enthusiastic about the role of big data in the marketing industry.


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Marketers Budget for Big Data Solutions  

The report, based on a survey of almost 400 marketers at the DMA13 Annual Conference, found for the second straight year that more than 60 percent of companies expect their big data marketing budgets to increase. But the majority of marketers do not plan on adding new employees to handle their data efforts in 2014, a reversal from a year ago when most companies said they did expect to hire for big data positions.

"Big data is meaningless without manpower," McRae said. "While it's exciting that most companies are making bigger investments in big data, marketers should not forget that it takes people to make sense of the information. Hiring before reaching the analytics stage enables companies to become data-led and act on the data."

Heading into 2013, almost 70 percent of marketers said they expected data-related spending to increase in the year ahead. The spending spree will continue in 2014, with 62 percent of marketers saying their big data budgets will increase. The slight decline could be an indication that fewer marketers are budgeting for data solutions for the first time.

Big Data ROI

According to the Infogroup Targeting Solutions report, 54 percent of marketers have already invested in big data solutions, a number that is expected to rise to almost 90 percent in the next five years.

Big Data Investment
Image courtesy of Infogroup Targeting Solutions; Big Data's Big Step: Analytics Takes Center Stage for Marketers in 2014.

Among those who have already invested, 61 percent are already seeing ROI. Those who expect to invest this year also expect a prompt return: 62 percent plan to see a positive ROI in 2014 and 86 percent expect to see positive ROI in the first or second year. While this may be ambitious given the time frame required to implement a comprehensive big data solution, the survey demonstrates marketers' faith in big data's role in their strategies.







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