5 challenges of big data

In a recent study by the World Federation of Advertisers on the contentious subject of big data, top marketers have highlighted some of their biggest challenges. (Related: CMOs crumble under data pressure Closing the gap between CIOs and CMOs Top frustrations between CIOs and CMOs) Whilst 88% of the respondents said it was vital for current and future business decision-making, 54% struggle to cope with the huge volume of data being generated.  (See the infographic below) The other 4 challenges include:

  • To deploy insights practically across the business (49%)
  • To find business analysts and data scientists with the right skills (49%)
  • Unprepared to take advantage of the opportunities of big data (74%)
  • Improved understanding of ROI as their primary reason for investing in this area (70%)

The study is based on on responses from 47 different multinational brands, collectively responsible for USD35 billion in marketing spend each year. Conducted in conjunction with The Customer Framework, the survey revealed that big data efforts work best when three key conditions are met:

  • The company has a clarity of purpose around its big data efforts

The most successful respondents were those who identified a clear purpose to their exploration of big data. Nearly 61% claimed to have a clear definition of the purpose of big data. Because every company has access to a multitude of different data sources of varying quality and ownership, the absence of a ‘purpose’ or hypothesis can lead to wasted investment, the WFA said.

  • The company ignores the hype around big data and starts small 

Starting work with small data sets can enable marketers to more easily meet with success in identify insights that can be applied across the business. This helps to demonstrate that it’s worth investing more in the right people and tools. It also allows marketers to boost their expertise and enable them to ensure that work on larger and more disparate data sets truly generates better commercial insights.

  • The company has the right talent that can produce truly actionable insights

While big data is a powerful tool to identify insights in itself, brands still need to be mindful that whatever the data may say, they still have to ensure that timely and relevant messaging is engaging and welcome. “After all, all the data in the world won’t make an unwelcome message effective,” the WFA said. (Read also: 8 digital trends for 2014 2014: B2B CMOs will juggle data, brand and organisational investments) See the infographic for more details: WFA Big data