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We’ve all heard the hype.  Big Data is the next revolutionary force in marketing.  By mining the petabytes of information which sit on our corporate servers and elsewhere, we can uncover hidden insights into customer behaviour.

And a new report from dnx based on a survey by Circle Research of some of the UK’s top B2B marketers suggests the hype is fast becoming reality.  Eight in ten marketers already use Big Data (43%) or plan to (40%) in the next three years.

Those that have embraced Big Data tell us that it’s fundamentally changing how they view and engage with customers:

  • 68% are using Big Data to segment customers and discover new micro-markets
  • 50% are using it to develop personalised communications for individual customers
  • 32% use it to create personalised offers for individual customers

Big Data is also changing the skills a marketer needs.  Beyond practical issues (e.g. data inconsistencies), marketers report that the biggest challenge to unleashing the benefit of Big Data is a lack of appropriate skills in the marketing department.

And Big Data is changing the cross-functional dynamics marketers need to manage.  Only 22% say that marketing ‘owns’ Big Data; the rest either share responsibility (35%) or it sits with data (17%) and IT departments (13%).

This latter point is perhaps worth dwelling on.  Many see it as a threat.  If Big Data really is set to transform marketing, then surely marketers need to control it?  But I’d challenge this.  Marketers don’t currently control the web servers on which digital campaigns sit, but does this make the campaign any less effective?  Of course not.  Likewise, just because marketers aren’t personally mining Big Data themselves, they can still use it just as effectively (if not more so).

Read the report here.

Find out more about Circle Research’s B2B marketing research services here.

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About Andrew

Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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