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Big Data Needs to Be Smart Data for UK Marketing Professionals

Many barriers for big data use in the UK

April 9, 2014

Big data is a big deal for businesses—and particularly marketers—worldwide. The sentiment in the UK is no different. A survey conducted by Circle Research for dnx looked at marketing professionals in Europe, 90% of whom came from the UK, and found that a large majority—82%—of companies either already used big data or planned to do so within the next three years.

Big Data Usage According to Marketing Professionals in Europe, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

However, while the decision to use big data was clearly a popular one, just how to harness it was an altogether different proposition. Circle Research also asked marketers what barriers were preventing them from benefiting from big data. That there were so many different responses was telling in itself, but the fact that the No. 2 response—cited by 50% of the survey group—was that data was incorrect or misleading should be of particular concern.

Barriers Preventing Marketing Departments from Benefitting from Big Data According to Marketing Professionals in Europe*, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

Having a lot of data offers huge potential when it comes to targeting. However, it seems somewhat unlikely that marketers would be willing to base their targeting efforts on this data if half of them believe it’s wrong, or at best misleading.

An August 2013 study for SAP by Loudhouse Research indicated that it wasn’t just marketers that were having difficulties translating big data into “smart” data. The sheer scale of big data was cited as a challenge by 46% of business decision-makers in the UK, but a further 36% stated that there was a lack of useful data.

Leading Challenges of Using Data to Inform Business Decisions According to UK Business Decision-Makers, Aug 2013 (% of respondents)

While big data has a huge amount of potential, until it can be better structured, stored and harvested, its use for marketers will remain limited.


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